What you need to know before voting by deputies


The bill on accelerating the development of renewable energy sources will be voted on by the National Assembly on Tuesday. Although drafted in the left-wing party, the text does not guarantee a favorable vote, Nupes MPs are divided on the adoption.

The text has been touted as one of the most important of Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term, but his voice risks slipping under the radar. When MPs vote on the Renewable Energy Sources (EnR) Bill on Tuesday, January 10, Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne will simultaneously introduce a long-awaited and explosive pension reform system.

The head of government must keep an eye on the ballot in the National Assembly, as refusal would be synonymous with failure for the government. And the result of the vote is still unknown.

A bill aimed at accelerating the deployment of wind and photovoltaic projects received the green light from the Senate in the first reading in early November. But the work of deputies significantly changed the content of the text. And for the first time in a five-year term, the majority turned left to “co-create” a bill and thus win a vote.

The right-wing and far-right have already announced they will vote against it. MEPs from Les Républicains (LR) consider the text “useless” and oppose “unreasonable concessions to wind energy”. As for the national rally, it has refused to debate against wind farms, which MPs say have “destroyed our landscapes”.

Transitional Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher therefore worked to convince the left in favor of her bill, taking many amendments from within the ranks of the New People’s Environmental and Social Union (Nupes) as proof of her goodwill. the government’s ability to compromise.

>> To read: Renewables: poor student, France is catching up

Without an absolute majority, the 250 deputies of the presidential camp could be satisfied with a part of the left abstaining from accepting his text, especially since about twenty deputies of the group of Liberties, Independents, Abroad and Territories (LIOT) ) must vote Yes. Despite everything, the support of a part of Nupes will be appreciated by the government.

  • What is in the proposed text?

The government’s bill aims to catch up with France, where renewables account for just 19.3% of total final energy consumption, below the European Union’s 2020 target of 23%.

In order to accelerate renewable energy sources, the draft law envisages territorial planning of their deployment. If the device gets a vote in the Assembly, it will be identified by municipalities, which will then issue a list of places where renewable energy projects can be located. These zones will come into force and must be registered in the local town planning documents after the decision is made.

The approval of the mayors before the installation of wind turbines and solar panels has cut through the crust of the left, who fear the return of the “mayors’ veto” demanded by LR MPs for the entire territory. But those around Agnes Pannier-Runacher are trying to convince: “There are several security measures. No one can block the system and we will provide a very specific schedule for mapping the zones.”

>> To read: Renewable energy: The left wants to challenge the government with more ambition

For offshore wind installations by 2024, the document sets out a map of priority offshore and land areas for wind installations for each of the four sea coasts – Eastern Channel-North Sea, North Atlantic-Western Channel, South Atlantic, Mediterranean. turbines. Members of the European Parliament also introduced measures to protect marine biodiversity.

In relation to solar energy, the obligation to install solar panels on existing outdoor car parks has been extended to car parks over 1,500 m.2 – instead of 2500 m2 in the original version of the text. In addition, agrovoltaism is under control, since it is not possible to build ground solar installations on agricultural land. These installations are permitted only on land that has not been cultivated or used for at least ten years.

Finally, an article seeking to curtail lawsuits against some renewable energy projects while recognizing a “prime public interest imperative (RIIPM)” has been hotly debated by leftists who fear it will harm biodiversity.

  • Why are the left’s votes not being taken?

Nupes believes the final text is not ambitious enough and hesitates to accept it on Tuesday during the vote. Communists announced that they would vote against. The rebels, who will make their decision on Tuesday morning, are torn between voting against or abstaining. Environmentalists said they would abstain. The Socialists, who will decide on Tuesday morning, are also undecided between voting or abstaining.

The bill “could have been an excellent text to mark the beginning of change. Let’s be clear, this is not the case today,” MEPs from the European Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) said in a January 5 press release on Twitter. According to them, the text “does not have any goals, funding, measures. strengthening the ability to do”.

It is believed that the Ministry of Energy did not understand these ambiguities and fulfilled its duty. Macronist MPs pointed to a “deal” struck with the Greens to extend the mandate to install solar panels on car parks or create a renewable energy observatory and broker. And support broader territorial measures such as a fund to help low-income households with the socialists, removing the original principle of discounts on the accounts of residents of facilities.

“The minister has fulfilled the task. It’s interesting if leftist groups don’t vote for what they’ve co-created. The dice are rolled for us. Now they are faced with their consistency,” Agnes Pannier-Runacher, a member of the cabinet, is quoted as saying. A total of 361 amendments were adopted, including 167 from the opposition. 42 of them are socialists, 33 are environmentalists.

  • What will happen if the bill is passed?

Because the text submitted to the National Assembly for a vote on Tuesday is very different from the text passed by the Senate in November, the General Assembly will need a joint joint commission (CMP) that brings together MPs and senators to pass the bill. But the CMP may have trouble reconciling the two versions of the bill.

Competent environmentalists to improve the text of this conflict between the elected representatives of the two chambers, either with the agreement of the CMP or through new discussions in the Assembly. “The progress of this text has not yet been completed, after this first reading it is still possible to arrive at a strengthened text in the joint joint commission or in the second reading,” EELV deputies write in a press release. .

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