France to Pay More for Renewables

France has announced that the state-owned electricity utility will now pay more for the renewable energy it buys from various producers. The goal is to boost today's 14% share of renewables to 21% by 2010. These new rates mean that it now makes more financial sense for individuals to buy solar panels or micro-wind turbines for their homes. Two big projects are currently being planned: France's first offshore wind farm, seven kilometres (four miles) from the small Channel resort of Veulettes-sur-Mer, which is scheduled to start operations in 2008 and produce enough power for a town of 150,000 people, and a "new-generation geothermal scheme" at Soultz-sous-Forets, in the Bas-Rhin department in eastern France. Also, the European Parliament voted on Thursday to dedicate 2/3 of the European Union's non-nuclear energy research budget to clean energy and efficiency. The decision amounts to a major shift away from research into fossil fuels.
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 tariff 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 boosts purchase rates to spur renewable energy, via ::The Oil Drum