French parliament approves retroactive FIT cuts for pre-2011, large scale PV


From pv magazine France

On December 16, at five o'clock in the morning, the French parliament adopted, in second reading, an amendment of the budget law that modifies retroactively the feed-in tariff contracts signed between 2006 and 2010 for PV plants exceeding, in size, 250 kW.

The measure, which had been previously canceled by the senate, will come into force when the government will issue an ad-hoc implementation decree.

“It’s not very glorious for the state to break contracts like that,” said Eric Woerth, chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, during the discussion of the controversial measure.

Despite the mobilization of many parliamentarians in recent weeks, to postpone or adjust the measure, the government has remained inflexible in requiring the National Assembly to vote its amendment in its initial formulation. “The government's approach will involve reopening hundreds of contracts, which will necessarily take a long time and risk freezing the activities of the companies concerned for months,” stated Jean-Louis Bal, the president of French renewable energy association SER. “This will block the activity of the sector and further accentuate France's backwardness at a time when climate change requires us, on the contrary, to accelerate the energy transition.”

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For Daniel Bour, president of solar energy trade body Enerplan, the government has moved forward with the retroactive cuts despite the great mobilization of parliamentarians from all sides to reject, or at least tone down the text of this amendment. “The sector has worked hard for the past two months to come up with courageous proposals which, unfortunately, have not been deemed admissible,” he said. “While the implementation decrees will be prepared, it is time to start the consultation that the government says it is calling for. We are ready to get involved alongside the administration but we expect the authorities to allow us to find a solution acceptable to the power producers concerned.”

According to Bour, a second phase is now starting during which it is essential that real negotiations can be opened with the public authorities, this time on the basis of a real impact study of the consequences of this measure on the sector. “The ‘excessive profitability' which the government attributed to the concerned power plants has never been demonstrated or even quantified,” he further explained.

French association Solidarité Renouvelables said the measure will put at risk of bankruptcy about half of the 850 projects concerned and will result in loss of attractiveness in the eyes of investors engaged in the deployment of renewable energy.

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