France Ploughs Ahead with Renewable Energy While Australia Scales Back Clean Energy Policies

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While France has set ambitious targets to increase the share of renewables in its total energy consumption, Australia has taken a contrasting approach by repealing its 2011 Clean Energy Act, which established the carbon pricing mechanism, according to Pranav Srivastava, an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The lower house of parliament in France recently approved its energy transition law, setting a target of 32 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2030. The law also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and to cut fossil fuel use by 30 percent over the same period.

On the other hand, Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has made radical changes to the country’s energy policy since he assumed power in September 2013. These include abolishing the carbon tax and reducing a goal to install one million solar roofs.

Pranav Srivastava, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power, says: “France is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy, with Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) and tradable green certificates being the main types of support. The country also has plans to decrease its nuclear power share from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025.

“Meanwhile, Australia’s renewable energy targets that are currently under review may be significantly reduced, although the opposition Australian Labor Party is refusing to accept the level of reductions proposed. The country’s renewable policy review has severely affected the industry, as investments in the sector were low in the first half of 2014, lower than since the first half of 2001.”

The analyst adds that effective from July 2014, Australia’s minimum retailer FiT price has been cut from $0.076 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.06/kWh.

While Australia’s alternative energy space has been hit hard, France is pressing forward with plans to promote the industry.

Srivastava continues: “France plans to invest about €10 billion ($13.41 billion) in renewable energy to cut the country’s oil and gas bill and reduce its reliance upon nuclear energy.

“The development of renewable power plants will help the country to create more jobs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

Lead image: Positive and Negative via Shutterstock

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