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13 August 2010

France launches €1.35bn renewable energy package

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Grants and loans up for grabs as government kicks off major investment drive

The French government has this week launched a major renewable energy investment programme, promising to provide €1.35bn (£1.1bn) of financial support to the sector over the next four years.

The new programme – dubbed demonstrateurs energies renouvelables et chimie verte, literally renewable energy and green chemistry demonstration – will provide €450m in subsidies and a further €900m in low-interest loans to cutting-edge technology projects.

Officials said the funds would be targeted at emerging clean technologies that face relatively high development costs, such as solar, marine and geothermal energy, as well as carbon capture and storage projects and advanced biofuel development.

The move marks something of a shift in strategy for France, which has previously targeted the bulk of its low-carbon investment at more established technologies such as nuclear and, to a lesser extent, wind energy.

The French Environment and Energy Management Agency said it was now seeking applications for funding from companies and research bodies undertaking demonstration projects and testing of new technologies.

About €190m will be invested before the end of the year, with €290m set aside for each year up to 2014. The government said it was also seeking to attract about €2bn of private sector investment to support the programme.


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