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France to spend US$1.1 billion on green tax rebates in next 2 years

[PARIS] French tax rebates on home insulation and other energy saving investments for households will cost the state 930 million euros (US$1.17 billion) in the next two years, according to the government's 2015 finance bill presented on Wednesday.

Ecology Minister Segolene Royal's much-delayed energy transition bill, currently being reviewed by parliament, will allow homeowners to deduct 30 per cent of the cost of thermal insulation from their taxable income.

That will also include expenses on equipment such as individual heating meters and electrical car home chargers.

The measure will cost 230 million euros in 2015 and 700 million euros in 2016, the government said as it unveiled a budget that would bring its budget deficit to within European Union limits two years later than promised.

France will also raise the so-called TICPE tax on diesel by 2 euro cents per litre, bringing in 807 million euros to state coffers in 2015 that will be earmarked for infrastructure investments.

Reducing energy consumption in the housing and transport sectors is key to increasing the country's competitiveness, Royal has argued.

France's energy balance - the difference between the money it spends on energy imports such as oil and gas and the money it earns on exports such as electricity - amounted to 66 billion euros in 2013.

That compares with a wider trade deficit of 62.2 billion euros. - Reuters