In the midst of the energy crisis and under the pressure of global warming, this text aims to make France catch up on its great delay in renewable energies. After having been the subject of a compromise between deputies and senators, it must be adopted in the afternoon, at the heart of a day of mobilization against the pension reform.
It intends to meet the objective set by President Emmanuel Macron for 2050 to multiply by ten the production capacity of solar energy to exceed 100 GW and to deploy 50 wind farms at sea to reach 40 GW.
It aims to "remove all the obstacles that delay the deployment of projects", underlined the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher who fought hard to gain support in the oppositions on the right and on the left.
"We are the only European country not to have achieved its objectives" in terms of wind and solar power, she told the deputies who gave their last green light last week.
The text is divided into major sections: streamlining of administrative procedures to reduce the time it takes to deploy projects; accelerating the development of solar energy and offshore wind; improving the local acceptability of projects.
In both chambers, as in the joint joint committee, the fiercest negotiations focused in particular on the planning of areas for accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, with the approval of the municipalities, and on possible exclusion zones.
Local elected officials "propose and have the last word on zoning", underlined Agnès Pannier-Runacher. And exclusion zones will only be possible for territories that validate acceleration zones, she recalled.
The left fears the return of the veto of the mayors, which LR demanded for the whole of the territory. And NGOs and players in the renewables sector criticize a "gas plant".
For Greenpeace France, "if the text is rather satisfactory on offshore wind power, it remains too late and limited on solar power, and above all very insufficient on onshore wind power".
"The anti-wind ideology has influenced this law too much," one of its representatives said in a statement.
Another sensitive subject, the supervision of agrivoltaism, combining agriculture and energy production.
At the end of 2022, France had approximately 66 GW of total renewable electricity capacity, divided between 40% for hydraulics (dams), 31% for onshore wind power and 24% for photovoltaics.
A study published at the end of January estimated that France should not achieve the objectives it had set for the deployment of electric renewable energies over the period 2019-2023.
For onshore wind power, the official target of 24,1 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity set for the end of 2023 "will not be achieved", the country barely reaching 20 GW at the end of September 2022, notes this annual Observ barometer 'ER.
On the photovoltaic side, despite an increased growth rate since 2021 and a "partially confirmed recovery in 2022 (...) the sector is still not on the right trajectory", adds the Observatory which is based, among other things, on on data from Enedis and EDF.
This text is only the first part of a triptych on energy. In the spring, the executive intends to defend in the National Assembly the bill promoting the construction of new nuclear reactors, voted easily at first reading in the Senate on January 24.
Then the Parliament will decide, at best this summer, on the energy future of France, with the multiannual programming law, fixing the share of each energy.
A final text which will take into account the public debate on nuclear power, but which parliamentarians would have liked to examine before the two technical acceleration texts.
The main measures of the text
Streamline administrative procedures, install solar panels along the highway and in car parks, massively develop offshore wind power: the renewable energy acceleration bill should allow France to catch up.
In France, which has long relied on the power of its nuclear fleet, renewable energies represent only 19,3% of gross final energy consumption, a lower share than elsewhere in Europe and already below of the target set for 2020 of 23%.
For 2050, President Emmanuel Macron has set himself the objectives of multiplying by ten the production capacity of solar energy to exceed 100 GW, and to deploy 50 wind farms at sea to reach 40 GW.
Reduced lead times
It takes on average in France 5 years of procedures to build a solar farm, 7 years for a wind farm and 10 years for an offshore wind farm.
The text provides for temporary adaptations of administrative procedures to simplify and speed up the implementation of projects, the objective being to significantly shorten deadlines.
In particular, the government wants to reduce certain remedies, by recognizing an "imperative reason of major public interest (RIIPM)" for renewable energy projects.
Municipal planning and approval
It was one of the most sensitive subjects of the text.
After a compromise found in the Senate, the mayors will be able to bring up - in a "bottom-up" planning system - the priority acceleration zones for deploying renewable energy projects.
For the validation of these "conducive" zones, the assent of the municipalities will be required. And only the territories that give the green light for these acceleration zones will also be able to define certain "exclusion sectors", without renewable energies.
The measure has tensed the left, which fears the return of the "veto of the mayors" demanded by elected LR for the whole of the territory.
With the exception of rooftop production processes, acceleration zones cannot be included in national parks and nature reserves.
The Assembly adopted environmental amendments to set up an observatory and a mediator for renewable energies.
For better “acceptability”, the deputies added to the text a landscape objective encouraging communities to “take care to limit the effects of visual saturation”, in particular wind turbines.
In order to better distribute renewable energies on the territory, the text makes possible a tariff modulation which would encourage project promoters to settle in areas with a priori less favorable natural conditions.
More space for solar
The bill facilitates the installation of photovoltaic panels near highways and major roads. It makes it possible to derogate from the Coastal law, in a very constrained framework, for the installation of panels in "wastelands". It also facilitates setting up in mountain communities.
It imposes the gradual equipment of outdoor car parks of more than 1.500 m2 with photovoltaic carports.
The wind takes to the sea
The bill proposes to pool public debates on the location of offshore wind farm projects to improve planning and accelerate their development.
During the session, the Assembly rejected LR amendments demanding that settlement areas be located at a minimum distance of 40 km from the shore.
However, “priority targets will be favorable areas located in the exclusive economic zone”, i.e. a little more than 22 km from the coast, and outside national parks with a maritime part.
The parliamentarians challenged a principle of rebate on the bill of residents of renewable energies. They favored broader territorial measures, leaving municipalities and intermunicipalities the possibility of financing projects in favor of energy transition or to help households in the fight against energy poverty.
The text intends to define "agrivoltaism", combining agricultural exploitation and electricity production, for example with solar panels mounted on feet, allowing the cultivation or even the passage of animals. Agricultural production should remain "the main activity" or the installations should be "reversible".