France has built up a major nuclear energy programme. Nuclear power in fact supplies 75 percent of electricity needs. Fuelwood is the third-ranking national primary energy resource (9Mtoe). France is the largest consumer of fuelwood in the EU (33Mm3 per year of where 25 from forests) which covers five percent of National Energy Demand. Approximately 7.2 million households are equipped with wood-burning heating devices. The potential of wood for energy is estimated to be about two Mtoe within the forest, 0.2 Mtoe from wood wastes of wood industry and 2.2Mtoe from wood packaging (pallets, crates)23.
A. INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS
A.1. - POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROJECTS
In France there is no consistent overall policy concerning biomass. At present, energy policy has a low influence; however, it is the agricultural policy that constitutes one of the driving forces behind biomass. Agricultural policy has determined the principal policy decisions in the area of biomass tax exemptions for biofuels. Reform of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) has been a decisive factor.
Public authorities followed interventionist policies regarding motor biofuels by setting up a favourable fiscal and regulatory framework. As for Environmental policy, opportunities for reducing greenhouse gases are to be found mainly in the residential and transport sectors, through a rational use of energy. There is a specific national policy for the development of biomass aimed at developing sustainable wood fuel district heating.
A.2. - THE ROLE OF TECHNICAL AGENCIES
Governmental Organisations involved:
The main Ministries in charge of orienting biomass programmes are:
· The Ministry of industry, Post, Telecommunications and Foreign Trade
· The Ministry of Higher education and Research
· The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
· The Ministry of the Environment, via the Eclat Committee.
There is no research institute focusing especially on biomass, but a range of research bodies and technical institute with R&D activities, such as:
· Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
· Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
· ADEME - the Agency for Environment and Energy Management - is a public agency with a view to industry and marketing. It operates under the authority of three Departments: Industry, Research, and Environment. Within the policy of the French Government, it is active to achieve goals such as environmental protection, rational use of energy and development of RE. ADEME has 26 regional delegations and is member of different European networks. It co-ordinates AGRICE, a Scientific Interest Group, which develops new market opportunities for agricultural products. ADEME also co-ordinates the "Wood-Fuel and Local Development Plan" launched in January 1994 in co-operation with the Ministries of Agriculture, Industry and Environment. 13 Regions and departments were selected to develop wood-fuel district heating systems, receiving public funding.
Non Governmental Organisations involved:
· BIOMASSE NORMANDIE is an association promoting RES, working mainly in the use of wood as fuel;
· RHONALPENERGIE ENVIRONMENT- the aim of the Energy and Environment agency of The Region is to contribute to the rational use of energy, the development of RE use and the protection of Environment;
· AJENA is an organisation which has been promoting energy conservation and efficiency of RE for more than 15 years, in particular wood heating;
· CLER - Renewable Energies French Committees - a network with the targets of co-ordinating and representing regional associations at national and international levels;
· FORET ENERGIE FRANCE is an association regrouping forest biofuel producers and promoting wood-fuel;
· CIRAD-FORÊT is one of the research units of the Forestry Department of CIRAD (a Research Centre in partnership with various scientific bodies). One of its research activity is the improvement of the quality of products obtained through thermo-chemical treatment and energy generation from wood and biomass;
· DEPARTMENT DES LANDES: CELLULE ENERGIE - the Lande County Council created an Energy Cell responsible for implementing a programme to develop wood-fired district heating in the department. The aim was to mobilise some of the wood waste generated in the Landes forest to heat schools.
Certain decisions have positively affected the development of biomass, notably the exemption of motor biofuels from the "Taxe Intérieure sur les Produits Pétroliers" (TIPP). "Plan Bois Energis" should initiate the development of the solid biomass market. It aims to promote wood fuel for district heating, receiving 11.5MEURO of subsidy.
There is the obligation on Electricité de France (EDF) to purchase electricity produced with at least 90 percent biomass from independent producers, not exceeding 8MW capacity each. The tariff is an agreement between EDF and the producers to guarantee supply and a high rate of purchase.
_ FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY CROPS:
The "set-aside" policy is in place in France. Energy crops grants are available.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE CONVERSION OF ENERGY CROPS:
France financial law gives tax relief (100 percent) on pilot units and experimental projects utilising biofuel tax engines or boilers.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR THE UTILISATION OF ENERGY FROM ENERGY CROPS:
At present there are no incentives.
Wood fuel standards exist, as regard SOx, NOx, CO and particulate, for plants of 2-20MWe.
No standard exists for the classification of wood.
France has built up a major nuclear power programme but is still dependent on international markets. Policy decisions are largely influenced by centralised structures that carry considerable weight. The main social forces backing the development of biomass are agricultural trade organisations. There is not a consistent overall biomass policy. There is no institution dedicated specifically to biomass research. Priority is given to motor biofuels.
23 AFB-NETT Phase IV Final Reports 18th Jan. '98.