Sunday, August 14

Engie Says Halting French Wind Development Would Be’Dangerous’

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By Francois de Beaupuy

(Bloomberg) —

Engie SA Chief Executive Officer Catherine MacGregor said halting the development of wind power in France, as suggested by some presidential hopefuls, would jeopardize the country’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Some candidates in next year’s presidential elections — including nationalist Marine Le Pen and conservative leader Xavier Bertrand — want to curb wind farm construction, blaming it for inflating household electricity bills and harming landscapes. That’s as the French government recently unveiled measures to increase public acceptance of wind turbines.

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“If we want to decarbonize France at the 2050 horizon, we’ll need to develop new renewable energy capacities, wind and solar,” MacGregor said Saturday on France Inter radio. “It’s extremely dangerous to call for a moratorium on wind in France today , and that would be a major mistake for France’s decarbonized destiny.”

The debate over the future energy mix is ​​heating up as France’s power grid operator recently unveiled a report showing that the country’s least expensive path to net zero would require to build large amounts of renewables as well as new atomic plants.

It also comes as a crunch in natural gas in Europe and Asia has recently sent energy prices soaring, forcing some governments to intervene with tax cuts and subsidies. European gas prices recently retreated, driven by the prospect of more supply from Russia and reduced demand from industrial users smarting from October’s record-high prices.

“Winter will be a slightly complicated period” regarding gas prices, the CEO of the French energy utility said on France Inter. “But we can hope that prices will fall a bit from spring, although one is never sure.”

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