Friday, August 12

Freezing wind turbines expansion in France would be’mistake’-Engie CEO

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PARIS — The CEO of French multinational utility Engie said on Saturday it would be a “huge mistake” to declare a moratorium on wind power development, criticizing proposals from the far and center right.

Catherine MacGregor’s comments came amid an active anti-wind movement in France, notably supported by Xavier Bertrand, the leading conservative contender in the presidential vote who says he opposes any “archaic growth” of wind turbines.

Two weeks ago, French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said she would end all subsidies for renewable energy and take down France’s wind turbines if she was elected next year.

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“In my view, it is today extremely dangerous to declare a moratorium on wind energy in France,” MacGregor told France Inter radio.

“If we want to “decarbonise” France by 2050, we must build more renewable energy capacities, sun power and wind power,” she added.

In a 2030 roadmap for the French economy presented earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron proposed billions of euros of support for electric vehicles, the nuclear industry and green hydrogen – produced with nuclear – but made little mention of renewable energy.

France produces about 75% of its power in nuclear plants, which means its electricity output has among the lowest carbon emissions per capita of any developed country. However, it lags far behind Germany and other European nations in wind and solar investment. (Reporting by Jean-Michel Belot; Writing Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Clelia Oziel)