President-elect François Hollande pledges commitment to renewables industry


Socialist François Hollande has been elected as President of France, bringing further concerns and hopes to the country’s already flagging solar industry. Dubbed “Mr Normal”, he has promised a 25% reduction in nuclear facilities by 2020, an investment in alternative energy generation and improving energy efficiency.

In a speech earlier this year, the President-elect said nuclear power would remain an important component of France’s energy consumption, but all facilities were sorely in need of inspection. Bloomberg has reported that Hollande asserted his government would decommission EDF’s oldest reactor in a bid to boost alternative energy generation.

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EDF CEO, Henri Proglio, has also been cited as one of the most prominent victims of the President’s salary cap initiative on French high-earning executives. EDF has also suffered a loss with shares dropping by as much as 3.2%. Shares have lost about 43% over the past year, reports Bloomberg.

Hollande’s victory “doesn’t bode well for regulated activities,” said Chicuong Dong, analyst at Richelieu Finance in Paris. “There are worries that measures to boost growth will involve spending for EDF”. With this attack on energy regulators, it remains to be seen the effect it will have on solar manufacturers.

Marie-Hélène Aubert, representing President Hollande at SolarExpo in Verona this week, spoke to SolarPV TV: “As for photovoltaics, we are well aware that the French industry has considerably suffered from the moratorium that was implemented in October 2010 over the feed-in tariffs, which has led to the loss of more than 10,000 jobs in 2011 in this burgeoning industry.

“We want to put the situation right – create a regulatory, legal and fiscal framework which is stable and visible for the short to medium term, so that the photovoltaic and renewable energy industry will be able to take off again and be resolutely sustained in the long-term by local authorities”.

Hollande will be inaugurated at the Élysée Palace on May 15. He has said he will spend this week choosing his cabinet and most importantly, his prime minister, in time for the parliamentary elections on June 10 and 17, hoping for a socialist majority.

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