(Adds Cahuzac comments on foreign vs domestic investment, hydropower)
PARIS, Nov 26 (Reuters) - French utility EDF will invest 2 to 2.5 billion euros ($2-$2.7 bln) a year to nearly double its renewable energy capacity by 2030, but most of that growth will be abroad, it said on Thursday.
Antoine Cahuzac, head of the state-controlled firm’s renewables business, said EDF’s capacity growth in renewables will be mainly in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa and EDF expects to operate at most an additional 5 GW of renewables capacity in France by 2030.
The investment plan will increase the company’s total renewable energy capacity to more than 50 gigawatts by 2030, from 28 GW currently.
At the end of June, EDF had 4.4 GW of installed wind turbine capacity and 0.5 GW of solar capacity, just a fraction of its 72.9 GW of nuclear capacity and 22 GW of hydropower capacity.
“One quarter of our international capacity growth will be in hydropower and the rest from wind and then solar,” Cahuzac told reporters.
He also said that EDF will do all it can to hold on to its French hydropower concessions. It was “unimaginable” that EDF would not bid for the renewal of its concessions if EU antitrust authorities were to request that, he said.
EDF, which aims to grow through financial, technological and local partnerships, said that the cost of renewable energy had dropped significantly in recent years.
Cahuzac expects that costs for outstanding solar tenders in France will come in at around 70 to 80 euros per megawatt-hour, which is three to four times cheaper than five years ago. Onshore wind now costs just over 40 euros per MWh in the world’s best wind sites, he said.
“Based on what manufacturers are telling us, we expect costs in wind will drop at least another 10 percent and solar costs another 15 to 20 percent,” Cahuzac said.
EDF estimates the cost of power from its existing nuclear fleet stands at about 55 euros per MWh.
The firm has never detailed the expected cost per MWh of a new nuclear plant it is building in Flamanville, France, but it has signed a deal to build two nuclear plants in Hinkley Point, Britain with a government-guaranteed power price of 92.5 pounds, or about 132 euros per MWh at current exchange rates.
Analysts say that given stagnant French power demand and decade-low power prices, it makes little sense for EDF to add greatly to its renewables capacity, which would only exacerbate overcapacity. (1 euro = 0.7021 pounds) ($1 = 0.9426 euros) (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Susan Fenton)