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Royal presents key energy bill

Energy transition bill aims to "cut France's energy bill" and "fight global warming"

ECOLOGY minister Ségolène Royal has today finally unveiled the details of her long-awaited energy transition bill which aims to “reduce France’s energy bill” and “fight global warming”.

The broad outline of the bill was revealed last month, following 18 months of preparatory work, but today, Ms Royal presented the details of the 64-article bill to her cabinet colleagues at the final meeting before the holiday.

She told colleagues that the bill - which has been described as one of the most important in François Hollande’s presidency - is intended to reduce France’s energy bill, currently €65bn a year.

One of the bill’s key aims is to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear power and fossil fuels from 75% to 50% by 2025, by increasing investment in alternative energy sources.

Nuclear capacity will be capped at its current level of 63.2 gigawatts. The bill says that EDF shall work to “diversify sources and control consumption” based on a plan and a timescale imposed by the government which will set the share of electricity supplied by nuclear, fossil and renewable sources.

Meanwhile, households will receive tax benefits of up to 30% of expenditure on any energy saving improvements they make to their home, as part of a scheme to cut household energy consumption by 50% by 2050. The bill reiterates a 2012 government pledge to improve insulation in 500,000 properties every year from 2017.

As for transport, the bill sets a goal of 15% of all journeys to be powered by 100% renewable fuel such as electricity, biogas or hydrogen by 2030.

To this end, drivers of heavily polluting diesel cars will also be encouraged to switch to more environmentally friendly vehicles. Those who decide to buy electric will be offered up to €10,000 in aid to make their purchase, while seven million charging points will be operational by 2030.

As an example, 50% of the government’s new fleet of cars must be electric.

Ms Royal told Le Monde that €10bn will be made available over three years to fund the bill, and said that it would create thousands of new jobs.

MPs are set to discuss the bill on October 1.

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