France Energie Eolienne: France needs more wind energy investment to meet targets

France needs to boost investment in wind turbines if the country wants to reach its targets for renewable energy use, wind power industry lobby France Energie Eolienne (FEE) said on Tuesday.


FEE said in a statement if France wants renewables to provide 40 percent of its electricity by 2040 – as specified by the energy law now going through parliament – it needs to build 1,600 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind turbines per year in the coming years and even 3,000 MW from 2020, compared to a projected 1,200 MW to be installed in 2015.

France, which produces about 75 percent of its electricity with nuclear plants, has lagged Germany and Britain in renewable energy investment, as cheap nuclear power has reduced the need to invest in alternatives.

At end-2014, France’s renewable energy (excluding hydropower) accounted for just 5 percent of French power generation.

FEE also called for speeding up the procedure for awarding construction permits. Building a wind farm can take 6 to 8 years in France, compared to 2 to 3 years elsewhere in Europe.

“France needs to remove the shackles holding back wind turbine investment,” said Frederic Lanoe FEE president and French country manager for Portugal’s EDP Renewables (EDPR).

FEE recommends that France targets 40 gigawatts (GW) of land-based wind turbine capacity in France by 2030, from 9.7 GW installed at the end of June, and 15 GW for fixed-foundation offshore wind and 6 GW of floating offshore.

France has no offshore wind installed but has awarded two tenders for 3,000 MW capacity to be built in coming years and has a target of 6 GW offshore by 2020. Britain targets 40 GW by 2030 and Germany 15 GW by 2030, FEE said.

FEE hopes the first stages of a third offshore wind tender will be launched this year, with selection of new zones by October, feasibility studies completed by summer 2016 and the tender launched by end 2016 with a view to contract awards by end 2017.

Consortiums led by state-owned utility EDF and by Spain’s Iberdrola won a tender totalling 2,000 MW in 2012, while a consortium including gas group Engie, Portugal’s EDPR and nuclear group Areva won a 4 billion euro 1,000 MW tender last year.

FEE also expects France will launch a tender for several pilot floating offshore wind farms this month.