France aims at 19,000 MW of wind power by 2020

Also, 6,000 MW of offshore wind turbines are planned, starting from zero. France is approving a new regulation for sustainable development, which will also be relevant for renewable development.

In particular, a strong increase is planned for wind energy, whose total capacity is expected to rise from the current 4,500 MW to 19,000 MW by 2020. Moreover, the law sets the foundation for offshore wind farm development, an industry that is currently non-existent and that will reach 6,000 MW by 2020.

According to the Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (SER), this law was emended so as to avoid obstacles that would have limited the development of this industry. Specifically, the provision that required wind farms to have a capacity of at least 15 MW was not approved.

"Lowering the threshold from 15 to 5 MW turbines and defining areas where plants can be built are two particularly significant issues", said André Antolini, president of ERA.

The law sets the target of installing at least 500 new MW of wind power per year. "It’s a strong signal, since for the first time an energy production target is included in a law," Antolini commented.

France ranks second as for wind potential in Europe behind the UK, but at present this country is still very far from the 23,000 MW installed in Germany‘s and the 19.149 MW in Spain.