Commission approves support for four floating demonstration offshore wind power plants in France

The European Commission has found four French wind turbines projects promoting electricity generation from renewable wind energy sources to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measures will further contribute to reach EU energy and climate goals without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

The Commission approved French plans to support four demonstration floating wind farms for producing electricity. The “Groix Belle Ile” project will be located in the Atlantic Ocean, while the other three projects(“Golf du Lion”, “Eolmed”, and “Provence Grand Large”) will be located in the Mediterranean Sea.

The demonstration floating wind farms will each be composed of three to four turbines and will each have a total installed capacity of 24 megawatt. The turbines will be installed in the sea on floaters. The turbines will be interconnected with each other and connected to land through an underwater cable.

Each of the four demonstration wind farms will use a particular combination of turbine, floater and cables. The objective of the public support is to test these different technological solutions, with the long-term goal to test this technology before deploying it on a larger scale.

The demonstration wind farms will receive both investment aid and operating aid. Part of the investment aid will be paid in the form of repayable advances.

The Commission assessed the measures under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission’s Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. The Commission found that:

the French projects will promote the development of a new type of offshore wind energy and the potential growth of a novel renewable energy technology.
the level of aid granted to the four projects is proportionate and will avoid overcompensation for the beneficiaries of the public support, in line with the requirements of the Guidelines.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the four projects will promote the use of electricity generated from renewable sources and will help France meet its climate targets, without unduly distorting competition.

The Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy allow Member States to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources, subject to certain conditions.These rules are aimed at meeting the EU’s ambitious energy and climate targets at the least possible cost for taxpayers and without undue distortions of competition in the Single Market.

The Renewable Energy Directive established targets for all Member States’ shares of renewable energy sources in gross final energy consumption by 2020. For France that target is 23% by 2020. The projects aim to contribute to reaching that target.