France’s energy and environment minister Delphine Batho, widely acknowledged as being a supporter of solar energy, has been summarily dismissed from her post.
The briefest of press releases from the French presidency yesterday said Batho would be replaced in her post of minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy by Philippe Martin.
The statement gave no further details on Batho’s dismissal. However, according to local press reports she had upset French president Francois Hollande by criticising his 2014 government budget, which includes a 7% cut to Batho’s department.
Batho had spearheaded a number of recent positive policy initiatives to help France’s beleaguered solar sector.
At the start of this year she doubled France’s 2013 solar target to 1GW and announced a 10% local content rule in the bidding process for French solar projects in an attempt to stimulate the domestic industry.
However, Batho is well known for being a supporter of the European Commission’s trade investigation into Chinese solar imports into the EU and France was one of only a handful of European countries to vote in favour of sanctions against Chinese manufacturers.