June 6, 2018 / 3:01 PM / in a year

Norway's Statkraft eyes eight French hydropower concessions

OSLO, June 6 (Reuters) - Norwegian power producer Statkraft is interested in bidding for eight of the hydropower concessions that France looks set to privatise, the company said on Wednesday.

France made proposals in February that could meet long-standing demands by the European Commission for Paris to privatise its hydropower concessions, which are mostly operated by state-controlled utility EDF.

“We are interested in eight of the originally published concessions to be auctioned ... We are targeting 1,000 megawatts of hydropower concessions in France,” said Statkraft spokesman Lars Magnus Gunther.

However, he added ongoing talks between the French government and European Commission could change which concessions Statkraft would bid for, when and in what order.

“France is a very interesting energy market and shows high potential for Statkraft’s core competence. Statkraft has actively prepared for market opening over the last few years and is ready for the competition,” he said.

France has 25,519 megawatts of installed hydropower capacity, second after nuclear energy. Hydropower covered 10 percent of French electricity demand in 2017.

The prospect of privatising hydropower assets sparked opposition from French union CGT, which said it could jeopardise the country’s energy security and threatened action against the plan.

About 80 percent of state-owned hydropower concessions are managed by EDF and another 15 percent by French energy group Engie. (Editing by Mark Potter)

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