Utility GDF Suez Plans to Double European Renewable Capacity by 2025

GDF Suez SA plans to double renewable power production capacity in Europe over the next decade as the utility shifts its focus away from developing more historic natural gas and nuclear energy sources in the region.

“Our goals are ambitious,” Chief Operating Officer Isabelle Kocher said today at a news conference outside Paris.

GDF Suez wants to raise renewable output capacity in Europe to 16,000 megawatts by 2025 from almost 8,000 megawatts in mid-2014, it said. Most output currently comes from hydroelectric dams, then wind and solar, while new developments will also come from offshore wind, tidal power and seawater pumps.

The operator of Europe’s biggest natural-gas network is expanding in Latin America, Asia and Middle East markets to counter sluggish growth in energy demand at home. Courbevoie, France-based GDF Suez has been hurt by lower demand for gas- fired power in Europe and nuclear outages in Belgium.

The utility needs to shift focus in Europe to renewables and smaller-sized generators that are decentralized from main power grids, Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet has said.

Lower oil prices may have a “marginal” effect on developing renewables in the short-term but won’t hurt the trend over the longer period, he said today. Europe’s energy shift is “lasting,” the executive said.

Harnessing wave and tidal forces as well as more traditional wind turbines and solar power will be the focus of the utility, executives said today.

“About half of capacity in development is renewable so it’s not marginal,” Kocher said. The utility will have about 21 gigawatts of renewable capacity at the end of the year.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Europe via Shutterstock

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