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French power grid operator RTE to invest Eur33 bil by 2035

Highlights

50% boost from current Eur1.3 bil/year investment

Integrates fivefold increase in wind, solar power

Double cross-border capacity to 30 GW by 2035

London — French power grid operator RTE plans to invest Eur33 billion ($36.3 billion) over the next 15 years to integrate a fivefold increase in renewable energy including offshore wind and modernize transmission infrastructure, it said Tuesday.

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Annual investment of around Eur2 billion is some 50% above current levels, but remains in the low ranges compared with investment plans in some neighboring countries, it said.

Modernization of the power grid, now on average over 50 years old and network consolidation across four key axes (three North-South axes: Facade atlantique, Massif central-Centre and Rhone-Burgundy and one West-East axis Manche-Normandy-Paris) accounts for the majority of the planned investment (approximately Eur21 billion).

Offshore wind grid connections could account for up to Eur7 billion over the period with the new energy roadmap PPE boosting annual offshore wind plans for 1 GW a year, it added.

Cross-border transmission capacity is expected to double to 30 GW by 2035 with France's portion of the investment accounting for approximately Eur2 billion.

Digitization of the network is set to account for around Eur3 billion, according to the report.

RTE, which is still 50.1%-owned by state-owned utility EDF following a stake disposal to financial investors in 2017, submitted the investment plan to the French energy ministry and the CRE regulator.

Background to the plan is France's energy transition with the share of wind and solar in the power mix set to increase fivefold by 2035.

Nuclear's share is to be reduced to 50% with the planned closure of 14 reactors with the new energy and climate law postponing this target by approximately a decade compared with the 2015 energy transition law.

French power generation is expected to increase 16% to 640 TWh by 2035 with the share of electricity in the primary energy mix to increase from 27% in 2020 to 37% by 2035. RTE estimates some 15 million electric vehicles on French roads by 2035.

--Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com