France’s Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transportation and Housing, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, responded to a question about natural gas vehicles (NGVs) raised in the Assemblee Nationale in July, by saying the French government will continue to promote NGVs for their reduced emissions. In particular he spoke of encouraging prospects, both environmentally and economically, in the truck sector and of steps to promote the development of biomethane.
The Minister referred to the “Protocol for the success of natural gas for vehicles (NGV) in 2010,” implemented in July 2005, which targets have not been met, especially for the light vehicle sector. He explained the goals were set too high, while the withdrawal of some of the signatories to the project also contributed to the lack of success. Currently there are 2,200 buses, 1,100 heavy vehicles and 10,200 light vehicles, primarily for corporate fleets. The number of CNG refueling stations is about 300, mostly for local fleets, and 32 are open to the public.
Kosciusko-Morizet said, “the Government has continued its effort in favor of this fuel by allowing it to receive a total exemption of domestic consumption tax on natural gas (TICGN), and will continue to promote this sector which has a favorable ecological balance in terms of particulate emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.”
“If the consumer market, dependent both on supply of manufacturers of CNG vehicles and the number of service stations in a position to issue fuel, cannot be developed significantly in the short term, the market for heavy vehicles however offers potentialities, especially large carriers across the national territory that require less CNG terminal openings,” he added. “The transport sector, which generates 23% of CO2 emissions in the world, will continue to grow in the years to come.”
The Minister also referred to the government’s intention this summer to promote development of biogas production through implementation of a redemption tariff for injection of biomethane into the national grid. A “guarantee of origin device” will allow the use of biomethane as a fuel product. Encouraging the use of natural gas vehicles will assist France to respect its commitment to introduce 10% renewable energy in transport by 2020.
(The link to the Minister’s response was provided by Association Française du Gaz Naturel pour Véhicules – AFGNV)
Editor note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Thierry Mariani as the Minister. Mariani is the Secretary of State in charge of Transport