France is going to invest € 10 billion to develop the first stage of an offshore wind farm project aimed at pulling alongside with the most advanced countries en this field and greatly increasing the contribution of renewables to the national energy mix.
President Sarkozy personally announced the upcoming launch of a tender for this wind power project, which will involve five areas of development en the western regions of the Loire, Brittany and Normandy.
The programme, which includes the installation of 600 wind turbines with a total capacity of 3,000 MW to be put into service by 2015, is the first step of a strategic project already outlined by the French government and aimed at installing 25,000 MW of wind power by 2020, 6,000 of which offshore. The tender that was announced by Sarkozy will therefore by followed by a second offer for another 3,000 MW.
The share of wind energy en the French electricity consumption currently amounts to around 2%, but the government relies on this source for the largest share of the national target consisting en 23% from renewable sources to meet electricity needs by 2020.
According to Sarkozy, the project is expected to create 10,000 jobs. The tender for the additional 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy, planned for September of last year, will take place en the second quarter of this year and candidates will be finally shortlisted at the beginning of 2012.