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. France Boosts Purchase Rates To Spur Renewable Energy

France's first offshore windfarm, a facility seven kilometres (four miles) from the small Channel resort of Veulettes-sur-Mer, is scheduled to start operations in 2008.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Jun 16, 2006
France on Thursday announced major increases in rates for energy from renewable sources that has to be purchased by the state-owned electricity provider, EDF. Since February 2000, Electricite de France has been required to buy power from operators of renewable sources at a price set by the government, under a programme aimed at boosting clean energy.

Energy from waste biomass (rotting refuse from which methane is captured) will see a rate increase of around 50 percent to 14 cents of a euro (17.64 US cents) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), junior industry minister Francois Loos said here.

Payment for geothermal (drawing on heat from the Earth's crust) will rise from 7.6 to 12 euro cents (9.5 to 15.2 US cents) per kWh and from 7.9 to 15 euro cents (9.95 to 18.9 US cents) per kWh, depending on whether the energy is used for electricity or electricity and heating combined.

Loos added that a new tarif had been created for wind generated by offshore turbines, of 13 euro cents (16.4 US cents) per kWh.

The existing rate structure for land-based wind turbines is being reviewed, in order to give incentives to operators who invest in high-efficiency equipment and place generators in areas where winds are average, as the windiest sites in France are already being harvested, he said.

France's goal is to drive renewables' share of electricity generation from 14 percent as of today to 21 percent as of 2010.

Around three-quarters of the country's electricity comes from EDF's nuclear plants, under a vast programme launched in the 1970s after the first oil shock.

Among the projects being launched in the renewables sectors, two stand out for their size or ambition.

One is the France's first offshore windfarm, a facility seven kilometres (four miles) from the small Channel resort of Veulettes-sur-Mer, which is scheduled to start operations in 2008.

It will have a designed capacity of 300 million kWh per year, enough for a town of 150,000 people.

The other is a new-generation geothermal scheme at Soultz-sous-Forets, in the Bas-Rhin department in eastern France.

In Brussels, meanwhile, the European Parliament voted on Thursday to dedicate two-thirds of the European Union's non-nuclear energy research to renewable energy and efficiency, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in a press release.

The decision amounts to a major shift away from research into fossil fuels, it said.

If approved by EU ministers, non-nuclear energy research will total 2.4 billion euros (3.024 billion dollars) from 2007-2013. Two-thirds of this for renewables and energy efficency would equal about 226 million euros (284.75 million dollars) per annum, said EWEA.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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