Energy Policies of IEA Countries: France 2000

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency's 2000 review of France's energy policies and programmes. It finds that France tries to achieve three major objectives in its energy policy: security of supply, environmental protection and low-cost energy for its economy and citizens, notably through its vast nuclear programme. The French have been generally successful, in particular in ensuring a secure energy supply – a high priority for the country, which has only minor energy resources. French energy policy is also based on a strong public service tradition, a notion that leads it to address market failures as well as to pursue social, regional and territorial objectives. France is on the way towards instituting regulatory reform to comply with the EU directives on electricity and gas. This reform will have a major influence on the traditional utilities Électricité de France (EDF) and Gaz de France (GDF) that dominate the markets. Introducing competition while meeting public service concerns is a challenge for the French government. For example, full geographical uniformity of tariffs – a public service obligation – creates market distortions by reducing niche markets for renewables. Meeting the Kyoto target is also a challenge for France, since the share of nuclear energy in its power generation is expected to decline in the future.

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