EU Clears France’s Support of Clean-Energy Expansion

wind turbines in open field
Wind farms like the one above can help regions convert from fossil fuel to renewable energy, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

(CN) – The European Commission on Friday approved France’s financial support of three renewable-energy schemes that will eventually produce 17 gigawatts of clean electricity – enough to power nearly 12 million homes.

France’s efforts will help it achieve an EU-mandated target of producing 23 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The projects include an expansion of onshore wind farms, small-scale solar installations on residences and commercial buildings, and bringing efforts to turn sewage gas into electricity to full capacity.

The wind-farm expansion will provide the bulk of the new clean energy: 15 gigawatts over the next 10 years. France expects the solar expansion will provide an additional 2.1 gigawatts of clean power, while expansion of the sewage gas power plants will net 160 megawatts.

The three schemes have a combined annual budget of just under $1.4 billion.

Use of public funds for the projects is within acceptable limits and in line with the EU’s environmental goals, while any competition distortion caused by France’s financial support of the project is minimal, the commission said.

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