ENERGY and CLIMATE Act is published in France

By Sibylle Weiler, Boris Martor

11-2019

Following its final vote by the French Parliament last September and validation by the Constitutional Council (Decision No. 2019-791 DC of November 7, 2019), the Energy and Climate Act of 8 November 2019 was published in the "Journal Officiel" on November 9, 2019.

It is divided into eight chapters:

• Chapter I: Energy policy objectives
• Chapter II: Climate provisions
• Chapter III: Environmental Assessment
• Chapter IV: Preventing fraud on energy saving certificates
• Chapter V: Implementation of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package
• Chapter VI: Provision for the application of this Act in overseas France
• Chapter VII: Energy regulation
• Chapter VIII: Regulated tariffs for gas and electricity

In line with the commitments undertaken in the Paris Agreement, the law formalizes the ambitions and objectives of French policies regarding climate change. Symbolically, the notion of "ecological and climatic urgency" is now written down in the French Energy code and the objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is affirmed. In accordance with the previous law on the energy transition for green growth 2015, and in line with the European regulations, the act updates the legal framework applicable to the production and marketing of energy in France.

The legislator identifies five areas for the acceleration and success of the energy transition:

The progressive exit of fossil energies and the development of renewable ones

The text raises the target of reducing fossil energy consumption from 30% to an ambitious 40% by 2030. It plans to close the last four coal-fired power plants by 2022.
The law postpones to 2035 the objective of reducing nuclear power's share of electricity production to 50%.

The text contains several measures designed to support the development of renewable energies which is a key focus in France:

• The law gives an important place to green gases: it specifies the future hydrogen support system as well as the legal framework for the production and commercialization of green gas (guarantees of origin, etc.).
• Regarding photovoltaic solar energy, the law establishes obligations to install PV panels on new warehouses and commercial buildings and abolishes some barriers to their installation on roofs or on neglected highways.
• It raises the target for offshore wind energy development and plans to increase offshore wind energy capacity up to 1 GW per year by 2024.
• Requirements on environmental assessment are clarified in order to accelerate the procedure applicable to the development of renewable energy projects (in particular for wind farms).

The prevention against thermal strainers

Under the new law, the objective for energetic refurbishment of buildings is to renovate all thermal strainers within 10 years. The act sets up a system to identify and prevent energy strainers by introducing mandatory audits as from 2022, in addition to energy performance diagnostics.

The implementation of new tools for monitoring, governance and evaluation of climate policy

The law provides for a change in the legal nature of multi annual energy planning. While up until now it was a decree, from 2023 onwards and every five years, Parliament will review the planning document as for every law.

The act also establishes a legal framework for the High Council on Climate. The government is required to submit a report on the compatibility of the draft finance law with France's commitments regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Regulation of electricity and gas sectors

The provisions organise the evolution of regulated tariffs for electricity and gas and their progressive termination in accordance with European regulations.

The prevention against fraud in energy saving certificates (EEC)