Commission clears French support mechanism for small installations 2 minutes before midnight

On Friday 5 May, the European Commission approved France’s support mechanism for onshore wind plants of less than 6 turbines. France was a dynamic market in 2016 with 1,561 MW installed. But activity in 2017 was plagued by uncertainty around the onshore wind support mechanism which was under European Commission scrutiny. The Commission’s approval, clearing the way for the French government to greenlight the support mechanism, came days before the second round of the Presidential election, potentially avoiding a considerable delay.

WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu said: “This is good news for the French wind power sector; the Commission’s decision provides essential regulatory certainty to investors going forward. The sector held its breath with the Presidential election looming but a critical hurdle has been cleared now. This gives us hope for a solid wind energy deployment in France in the medium term”.

A separate Commission decision is expected on France’s support mechanism for windfarms of 6 turbines and above in the coming months. Tardieu said: “We look forward to a quick decision from the Commission on a well-designed tendering mechanism. The implementation of a technology-specific approach, as authorised under the State aid guidelines, will be critical if France is to get the most out of its wind energy potential and deliver on its 2020 target”.