EU OKs $229M French Scheme to Boost Green Energy

(CN) – The European Commission on Monday signed off on a French scheme to spend nearly $229.4 million to encourage individuals and small businesses to produce renewable energy for their own consumption.

Financed by the French national budget, the scheme aims to snag 490 megawatts of additional generation capacity of renewable energy – enough to power 490,000 homes – mostly through small installations, the commission said. In particular, France will target individuals and companies who are interested in producing renewable energy for their own consumption rather than selling to the grid.

“This scheme will stimulate competition between renewable energy sources for self-suppliers and will further increase the share of renewables in France’s energy mix,” competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “The technology-neutral tenders will contribute to France’s transition to low carbon and environmentally sustainable energy supply, in line with the EU environmental objectives and our state aid rules.”

Participating homeowners and business owners will receive the money in the form of a premium on top of the market price for the electricity they produce. The premium will be paid over 10 years, the commission said.

The scheme will help France reach its goals under the EU’s renewable energy directive, which sets targets for green energy consumption as a percentage of all electricity used by 2020. France’s target is 23 percent, the commission said.

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