Wind power: France is also aiming at developing offshore technology

During the parliamentary debate regarding the framework law on sustainable development (known as Grenelle Environnement 2), the French government presented a programme for the development of wind energy that includes a strong offshore growth, with about 6,000 MW to be installed by 2020.

There is a double proposed aim: firstly the environmental needs and greenhouse gas emission targets set by the debated law must be met. Secondly, a domestic wind industry capable of competing at an international level must be developed.

The French government has started to take action well in advance in order to perform this programme.

Indeed, already in spring 2009 the prefects of the coastal regions that supposedly have the greatest potential (Brittany, Loire, Haute-Normandie, Aquitaine and Provence-Côte d’Azur) were asked to launch a broad enquiry among all interested parties to identify obstacles, as well as technical, regulatory and environmental problems that might rise for each specific area.

After the survey will be completed at the end of June, the Government will be able to pinpoint by next summer a dozen areas that are suitable for the development of wind power offshore.

The government also said that it is about to enforce new regulations to greatly simplify procedures to be followed for the approval of wind farm projects and for interconnection of plants to the national grid.

Therefore, the first 3,000 MW offshore wind tender is expected to take place in October 2010. The selected wind turbines projects will be publicized within March 2011.