Rare earths and renewable energy are two sectors that almost every country races to dominate. One of these nations, France, takes serious strides towards this goal. Recently, the French government announced an emergency measures package to hasten renewable energy development. Rising infrastructure costs recently pushed the French government towards this decision. Along with the rest of the world, these are riding on the back of record inflation.
Only about 20% of France’s current electricity comes from renewable sources. This includes just 8% from wind energy. Clearly, the country needs to step up its efforts if it plans to meet its climate goals. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent disruptions in conventional power generation have put a lot of pressure on the French energy ecosystem. In fact, the war in Ukraine has proven the primary catalyst towards this emergency green package.
Renewable Energy VS Rising Energy Costs
As per government estimates, about 7 gigawatts of solar-generated electricity and 6 gigawatts of wind-generated electricity could be lost as renewable power projects try to manage rising costs. A statement by the energy transition ministry says the delays in developing new energy projects are largely due to inflation. As the price of construction materials surges, project costs are no longer covered by the state-guaranteed purchase price of electricity or biomethane.
Incidentally, France was the only European Union country to miss its target of having 23% of its energy come from renewable resources by 2020.
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France Seems to Be Going “All In” on Wind Energy
In an effort to hurry up renewable energy development, France put several new initiatives in place. These include permitting renewable energy projects nearing completion to sell their electricity at higher rates for up to 18 months. This came a full year and a half before the contracts signed during tenders come into effect. Meanwhile, the country has lowered rates for installing solar panels and will keep them that way for the rest of 2022. Moreover, all renewable projects that have already won tenders can increase their outputs by up to 40% before project completion.
Along with these measures, the French government has already doubled the size of the planned Oléron offshore wind zone to 2 GW. In fact, the goal strives to generate 40 GW of offshore wind by 2050. According to the plan, this will be spread out across roughly 50 farms. Right now, the French government plans on generating between 21.8GW and 26GW by the end of next year.
Anglo American Spurs on Renewable Energy Efforts in Africa
In other news, English-owned global mining company Anglo American recently announced new green initiatives for its African facility. Specifically, the company will construct a series of on-site solar plants and off-site wind farms. The goal is to develop a renewable energy ecosystem for green hydrogen production throughout Southern Africa. It’s just one part of an overarching effort to decarbonize and reduce Scope 2 emissions while simultaneously improving the strength of local energy grids. The company feels that the move could unlock bigger opportunities by way of hydrogen corridors, transport routes, and supply chain infrastructure.
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