NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
London, United Kingdom, 2008/09/17 - The French renewable energy sector generated a turnover of €33 billion in 2007 and created 220,000 jobs, according to ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, making France Europe’s second largest producer of sustainable energy.
In March 2007, the European Union established the objective that energy from renewable sources should comprise 20% of total primary energy consumption by 2020. The fight against global warming is the main priority for the current French EU presidency, as determined by the French government during the Grenelle Environment Round Table. The aim of the Round Table, which was instigated by Nicolas Sarkosy, the French President, was to define the key points of government policy on ecological and sustainable-development issues for the coming five years.
In France, electricity produced from sustainable sources was estimated to amount to 12% of total domestic consumption in 2006, according to the Observatoire d’Energie. Hydraulic power remained the leading source of power, accounting for approximately 91% of total electricity production. Electricity produced by wind power doubled to 3.5%, while wood energy remains stable at 2.3%.
The use of solar photovoltaic and thermal energy is also increasing rapidly in France: the capacity of solar collectors connected to the grid doubled in 2006, according to ADEME (6,100KWC, compared with 3,075KWC in 2005). Energy generated from the recycling of urban waste accounts for 2.5%. The production of geothermal energy will also be developed as a result of the rising cost of fossil fuels used for domestic heating. Additional energy is produced from heat pumps, as well as from agricultural waste and biomass sources.
The drive to increase the use of renewable energy is supported by sustained industrial activity, particularly in the photovoltaic and wind-power industries. This is driven mainly by EDF Energies Nouvelles and numerous small investors. In order to tackle environmental challenges, the French government has launched its Ecotech 2012 plan, which is being led by the Eco-industry Strategic Committee. Twelve regions in France also have high-tech clusters dedicated to research into energy sources.
International companies running wind parks in France include Gamesa (Spain), General Electric (USA) and Vestas (Denmark). International companies working with wind energy and photovoltaic systems in France include Apex BP Solar (United Kingdom), AS Solar (Germany), HaWi Energies Renouvelables (Germany), Photowatt (Canada), Silpro (Netherlands) and SMA (Germany).
The French government actively supports this sector by encouraging households and companies to install energy-saving equipment and to use energy from renewable sources. It has introduced a tax credit that enables up to 50% of such investment to be recovered.
Philippe Favre, President of the Invest in France Agency, says, “France is the location of choice for these kinds of industries: the tariff buyback programme is one of the most attractive in Europe and France has high-skilled labour in the electricity network domain and significant potential in wind power. Thanks to the ambitious programme of the next 12 years, there are great opportunities for sustainable energy in France.”
About the Invest in France Agency
The Invest in France Agency (IFA) promotes and facilitates international investment in France. The IFA network operates worldwide. IFA works in partnership with regional development agencies to offer international investors business opportunities and customized services all over France.
For more information about this press release, please contact Martin Hedges, Director of Communications at the Invest in France Agency in London: mhedges[.]investinfrance.org