These measures will help France achieve its 2020 target of producing 23% of its energy needs from renewable sources.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: "The support schemes for medium and large-scale solar and for onshore wind power will help France in its transition to a low carbon, environmentally sustainable energy supply. The measures are completed by a technology-neutral tender which will stimulate competition between solar and wind installations, and will help the EU reach its environmental objectives."
The onshore wind scheme has a provisional budget of €188 million per year (or a total of €3.8 billion over 20 years) and the two solar schemes have a provisional budget of €232 million per year (or a total of €4.6 billion over 20 years). The last scheme will support both onshore wind and solar installations, with a provisional budget of €6 million per year (or a total of €124 million over 20 years). The beneficiaries of the aid will be selected through tenders to be organised between 2017 and 2020.
The approved schemes consist of the following measures:
- An onshore wind support scheme which will grant support to 3 gigawatt of additional capacity over the next three years, taking the form of a premium on top of the market price (so-called "complément de rémunération") to operators of medium to large-scale onshore installations of more than 6 turbines, or with at least one turbine exceeding the limit of 3 megawatts.
- A solar support scheme for large-scale photovoltaic installations on buildings. Installations will receive a feed-in tariff (for installations between 100 and 500 kilowatts) or a feed-in premium (for installations comprised between 500 kilowatts and 8 megawatts) over twenty years.
- A solar support scheme for large-scale photovoltaic installations on the ground. The tender will grant support for up to 3 gigawatt of additional capacity, by means of a feed-in premium over twenty years.
- A support scheme for 200 megawatts of additional capacity, available to both onshore wind and solar installations not exceeding 18 megawatts.
Each scheme provides for a bonus to local projects or local participation in projects.
The four schemes are accompanied by a detailed evaluation plan to assess their impact. The results of this evaluation will be submitted to the Commission in 2022, with an interim report to be submitted in 2018.
The Commission assessed all four schemes under EU state aid rules, which ensure that the use of public funds is limited and there is no overcompensation. It concluded that the measures will boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources, in line with the environmental objectives of the EU, while the distortion of competition caused by the state support is minimised.
The Renewable Energy Directive established targets for all Member States' shares of energy renewable energy sources by 2020. For France that target is 23% by 2020. All four schemes aim to contribute to reaching that target.
The four newly approved measures complement already approved support to small-scale onshore wind, solar, biogas and hydroelectric installations and to geothermal and sewage gas installations.
The non-confidential version of the decisions will be published in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website under the case numbers SA.46552, SA.47753, SA.48066 and SA.48238. The Commission state aid website lists new publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the EU Official Journal.