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France's EDF to accelerate growth in renewable projects

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By Reuters
France's EDF to accelerate growth in renewable projects
FILE PHOTO: A logo of French electric company EDF is seen at an office building in La Defense business district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau   -   Copyright  Regis Duvignau(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – State-controlled utility EDF <EDF.PA> is targeting around 30% of the French solar power market by 2035 and aims to develop around 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar capacity per year from next year, the head of the company’s renewables business said on Monday.

Bruno Bensasson said EDF aimed to complete around 30 GW of installed solar generation capacity by 2035, in line with France’s long-term energy plan.

France depends on nuclear power from its 58 reactors operated by EDF for around 75 percent of its electricity needs. It plans to cut the share of atomic power to 50% by 2035, while boosting renewables.

In a long-term energy plan announced in January, France will increase renewable energy capacity – including hydro power – from 52.3 GW to 74 GW in 2023 and 113 GW in 2028, mainly by boosting wind and solar.

EDF currently has around 300 MW of installed solar capacity, while its onshore wind capacity is at 1.6 GW.

It has won the contract to build France’s first offshore wind project, the 480 MW Saint Nazaire wind farm expected in 2022, and the 600 MW Dunkirk offshore project.

“There is a lot of development to be done,” Bensasson told a news conference. “Principally, our development will be organic, but we do not exclude acquisitions.”

The renewables unit reported 1.16 billion euros (£996.53 million) in revenue in the first nine months of the year, up 1.4 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.

Bensasson said the business was expected to record strong growth, faster than the 10% annual growth of the French renewables market.

He added that for France to meet its renewables objectives, the development of projects would have to move much faster. He said EDF had secured around 2,000 hectares in 2019 for its solar projects, seven times what it had two years ago.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Nick Macfie)