Dominance of conventional retailers and energy utilities
In June 2021, the French Government owned 83.77% of the capital of the traditional national energy supplier EDF. According to EDF, referring to 2020 data, 86% of the electricity production in continental France stemmed from nuclear energy. In this context, one can estimate the willingness of the French government to develop renewable energies as rather weak.
Within this context, the perception of solar and wind energy as being too expensive and inefficient is relatively widespread. This perspective is endorsed by the Court of Auditors through its reports on renewable energy policies (e.g. from 2013 and 2019), which have been critical of the support to renewables, towards wind and particularly solar power. This continuous debate hampers the development of renewable energies and misrepresents the wind and photovoltaic technologies. This is all the more a misconception as the costs of solar PV and wind plants have fallen significantly over the past decade. There are many locations in France where the use of PV systems and wind plants is more cost-efficient than other energy sources.
The most recent Court of Auditors report on electricity system costs from December 2021 still has quite a strong focus on nuclear energy, which undermines the potential of renewables further. In addition, the TSO RTE claims in its energy scenarios to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, that those scenarios relying solely on renewables are less competitive than those keeping nuclear energy. However, it should be noted that according to RTE, the costs of additional, new nuclear plants would be higher overall than those of RES in 2050.
Whereas it remains true that the development of renewable energies in France is hindered by the important role of nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix, the current attention of the French Government to green growth and energy transition could represent a good opportunity for RES in the near future. It is up to the government to send the right long-term signals to attract RES investors in the country.
This online database provides information on barriers and best practices for wind onshore, wind offshore, PV rooftop and PV ground-mounted technologies.
For Lobbying from nuclear energy advocates impairs RES deployment
|Authority (Original name)||Authority (English)||Link|
|Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire||French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition||Visit|