The bill on renewable energy was adopted by the National Assembly in its first reading
The National Assembly adopted in its first reading, Tuesday 10 January at the end of the day, the bill relating to the accelerated production of renewable energy. Text received 286 votes for and 238 votes against. The voting was disrupted by a technical incident, which led to arrangements for voting by paper ballot instead of the usual electronic means.
The bill specifically provides:
- the “prime public interest imperative (RIIPM)” status for certain renewable energy projects to limit appeals;
- to facilitate the development of offshore wind power;
- new criteria for the installation of onshore wind turbines, for example by encouraging the public to “be careful to limit the visual saturation effect” ;
- the “acceleration zone” for renewable energy installations, subject to the approval of the municipality concerned;
- developing photovoltaics, with mandatory installation of solar panels in outdoor parking lots of more than 1,500 m², easier installation near highways and main roads and in mountain towns;
- regarding agrivoltaism (production of electricity on agricultural land), the text emphasizes that agricultural production must still exist “main activity”, and facilities must “reversible” ;
- financing by renewable energy promoters of projects or green projects for the protection of urban and inter-city biodiversity where they wish to set up facilities;
- installation of observatories and renewable energy mediators.
In the morning, the Socialist deputies announced that they would support the text, unlike the rest of the left-wing force, which was divided between the opposition and abstentions. “There is a time to work together in the name of the common good and the ecological emergency. (…) This law has become the subject of real dialogue between various political camps and with the government.”estimated PS deputy Dominique Potier, who claims “great progress” thanks to its group’s 70 amendments. What a relief the executive, who counted the troops in attendance before a solemn vote which was held in the afternoon, coincided with Elisabeth Borne’s press conference to present her highly controversial pension reform project.
Text about renewable energy “speeding up the project by several years. (…) That’s a fact. So are the opposition groups [de gauche] consistent with their presidential and legislative programs (…), do they stay in political posture and vote for the opposition in principle”said the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Monday.
Environmentalists have promised a “restraint from waiting” to “press”. “We expected better”, for example on the deployment of renewable energy in existing buildings, underlined the head of Ecology Europe-The Greens (EELV), Marine Tondelier. The “rebels” have announced to vote against, believing that the text “providing a proud place for the commodification of renewable energy”like the Communists, who denounced a “privatization” Energy.
The Senate, with a right-wing majority, largely voted for a text devoted to renewable energy in early November 2022, with the help of socialist, environmentalist and communist senators. But LR deputies have adopted a tougher line than their Senate counterparts. They clash “unjustifiable derogation given to wind power”a “intermittent energy” and one “Salami” text on renewable energy.
After the green light from the Assembly, a joint commission that brings together seven deputies and seven senators – of whom the right has a majority – must now meet, a priori on January 24, to try to work out a compromise text, with a view to final adoption.
Priority “acceleration” zone
The bill aims to reduce installation times and make up for France’s significant delay in terms of renewable energy: 19.3% of final gross energy consumption, far below that of its European neighbours.
The text emphasizes in particular on photovoltaics and wind power at sea, in line with the ambitions shown by Emmanuel Macron to triple by 2050 solar energy production capacity exceeding 100 GW and to deploy 50 offshore wind farms up to 40 GW.
Among the main debates: the sensitive subject of mayoral approval before installing onshore wind turbines and solar panels. In line with the compromises found in the Senate, the Assembly validated the planning system, by field“acceleration” priority to install renewable energy, subject to municipal approval. The move has strained leftists, who fear a comeback by leftists “mayor veto” requested by the deputy LR for the entire region. WWF NGOs generally assess “interesting exercise but not finished” and looking in the planning system with the municipality “little gas factory”.
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On the professional front, the president of the renewable energy union, Jules Nyssen, reports to “good point” on access to the ground for photovoltaics, but also “setback” and “Point of Alert”, for example the revocation of rebates on bills of local residents. The Assembly favored socialist proposals to finance broader territorial measures: funds for fuel-starved households or for biodiversity.