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NORD STREAM

French PM gives no credence to Russian Nord Stream claim UK involved

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Saturday she gave no credence to Russian military accusations that Britain was involved in the explosions that damaged Russia's Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September.

A sign for the Nord Stream II pipeline in Lubmin,
A sign for the Nord Stream II pipeline in Lubmin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Sauer

“There is an investigation underway and I give no credence to what was said this morning,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a trip to Lisbon, alongside her Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa.

On Saturday, Russia’s defence ministry accused British naval staff of having blown up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month. 

READ ALSO: Sweden and Denmark say Nord Stream blasts equal to ‘several hundred kilos of TNT’

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom is the majority shareholder in Nord Stream AG, the company that owns and operates the pipelines.

The British defence ministry denied the claims and said the accusation was designed to take attention away from Russia’s “disastrous handling of the illegal invasion” of Ukraine.

“According to available information, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year – blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” Russia’s defence ministry said.

Four leaks emerged on the two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea off the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of September with seismic institutes reporting they had recorded two underwater explosions prior to the leaks appearing.

While the leaks were in international waters, two of them were in the Danish exclusive economic zone and two of them in Sweden’s.

In early October, the Swedish prosecution authority announced that they had collected “pieces of evidence” during an underwater inspection of the leaks in the Swedish economic zone, which had backed up suspicions of sabotage.

And on Friday, Swedish prosecutors said they would conduct a new complementary crime scene investigation of the Nord Stream leaks, after the navy and the pipeline owner also began surveys this week.

READ ALSO: Germany opens probe of likely ‘blasts’ against Nord Stream

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ENERGY

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

Financial aid of up to €1,500 is temporarily available to households looking to replace oil-fired boilers with a more environmentally friendly heating systems. 

France offers grants up to €1,500 to replace oil-fired boilers

The temporary ‘coup de boost’ aims to encourage households to replace their oil-fired heating systems (chauffauge au fioul) and is in addition to the ‘coup de pouce chauffage’ (heating helping hand) scheme that is already underway to help under the energy saving certificates scheme (CEE).

All households that are primary residences – this aid is not available to second-home owners – equipped with an oil-fired boiler can benefit, with the amount for which they are eligible means-tested according to household resources and the replacement system chosen. 

Households with modest incomes benefit from a higher premium.

To benefit from the new temporary bonus, households must replace their individual oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally friendly heating system:

  • heat pump (air/water or hybrid);
  • combined solar system;
  • biomass boiler (wood or pellets);
  • connection to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.

The total amount of financial help from the two schemes is €4,000 to €5,000 for low-income households; and from €2,500 to €4,000 for middle and high-income households.

For the connection of an individual house to a heating network, the amount of the bonus increases from €700 to €1,000 for low-income households; and from €450 to €900 for middle and high income households.

Estimates for the replacement of an oil-fired boiler must be accepted between October 29th, 2022, and June 30th, 2023, and work must be completed by December 31st, 2023.

The Coup de boost fioul aid can also be combined with MaPrimeRénov to replace an oil-fired boiler, meaning the least well-off households in France can benefit from aid of up to €16,000 to replace an oil-fired boiler with a pellet boiler or a combined solar system.

Since mid-April 2022, MaPrimeRénov’ financial aid has increased by an additional €1,000 for the installation of a renewable energy boiler. This can now reach €11,000 for the most efficient boilers (pellet boiler, combined solar system) and for households with modest incomes.

It must be noted that the installation of a very high energy performance gas boiler will no longer be eligible for MaPrimeRénov’ as of January 1st, 2023.

Find more details on the scheme HERE.

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