French government mulls retaining coal subsidy

Months after promising to end subsidies for coal-fired power plants, French premier Francois Hollande’s government is now looking at backtracking in order to protect jobs.

In a memo to the French National Council for Ecological Transition (CNTE), which includes NGOs, politicians, and local communities, the government highlighted the negative impact the policy could have on employment, and gave a list of possible exemption schemes.
The French government had planned to stop issuing public guarantees to Coface, the French state organisation for foreign investments, for the construction of coal power stations abroad. The initial plan was to put an end to all investment in coal power stations not equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems.

However CCS technology, meant to capture emissions from power stations to reduce their impact on climate change, is still in the development phase. Only a handful of such projects are currently operational.

A large number of jobs at the energy company Alstom, the only French company to benefit from Coface guarantees in the last 15 years, are threatened by the policy, according to the French government.


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