PARIS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The French government will barely increase spending on renewable energy next year, with a planned rise of 1.3 percent effectively flat after taking inflation into account, France’s ecology ministry draft’s budget showed on Monday.
Spending on renewables projects will total 7.3 billion euros ($8.60 billion) next year and will mostly go towards wind and solar projects.
France is lagging its European rivals in renewables, and falling behind its long-term target to develop renewables which could help it to curb its dependence on nuclear power that currently accounts for over 75 percent of its needs.
According to the draft budget, France will maintain its plans for a increases in its carbon tax, which is part of a tax on transport and heating fossil fuels paid by consumers.
The tax will increase to 55 euros per tonne of CO2 in 2019 from 44.6 per tonne in 2018. The government had said last year that the tax would increase to 65.40 euros in 2020, 75.80 euros in 20.21 and 86.20 euros in 2022.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said the government had taken the “difficult decision” to use tax policy to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour at a time it was cutting the overall tax burden.
Households and businesses face 2.9 billion euros in additional environmental taxes next year, including one billion euros from scrapping a tax break farmers and construction firms get on heavy vehicles fuel.
Meanwhile, the government will increase incentives to help consumers switch to cleaner vehicles. ($1 = 0.8488 euros) (Reporting by Bate Felix and Leigh Thomas. Editing by Jane Merriman)