Vattenfall has announced plans to invest up to EUR1B in hydropower in France when concessions for hydro schemes in the country are renewed later this year.

France is the second largest market in Europe in terms of installed hydropower capacity (25,000MW). Later this year, it will be offering the renewal of concessions for 5300MW of hydropower until 2015, representing more than 20% of the total capacity. Vattenfall aims to obtain concessions for 1000MW.

Earlier this week the company opened a new office in Paris, emphasising its long-term strategic interest in the country.

“The establishment of Vattenfall in France confirms our position as one of the leading European energy companies. Vattenfall’s ambition is to grow in renewable energy and the upcoming hydropower opportunities in France fall well within this scope. France is a growth market for Vattenfall,” said CEO Oystein Løseth.

In line with its strategic direction, Vattenfall has the ambition to grow in low CO2 emitting energy generation. The renewal of the French hydropower concessions represents a unique opportunity to further develop Vattenfall’s already strong hydropower portfolio, and also to position Vattenfall for further growth on the French market, the company said in a statement.

Vattenfall’s current activities in France include supplying electricity to large business customers and grid operators. These activities will continue. In 2010, Vattenfall sold approximately 6TWh electricity.