Dunkirk auction result boosts the case for ambitious offshore wind energy in France

Bids to build a 600 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Dunkirk came in at a winning price of “below” €50/MWh the French Government announced today. The winning bid came from a consortium led by EDF Renewables, Innogy and Enbridge.  

The number of competitive bids is excellent news for the offshore wind power outlook in France. The wind turbines industry is ready to deploy offshore cost-effectively in one of Europe’s top wind markets.

Despite boasting one of Europe’s most promising coastlines for offshore wind, France’s multi-year energy plan had until now only modest offshore targets of 2.4 GW by 2023 and around 5 GW by 2028. But the French Government announced its intention this week to tender 1 GW of offshore wind per year up to 2028. This would mean 6.5 GW of offshore installed by 2028 and 11.5 GW tendered: around 6% of French electricity consumption.

France initially launched offshore wind tender rounds for 3 GW of offshore wind in 2012 and 2014. But legal procedures against the projects slowed things down, and only now is the first of the projects (Saint-Nazaire, which received the green light from the French Conseil d’Etat last week) ready for final investment decision. France’s first fixed-bottom offshore wind farms are expected to be connected to the grid in 2020-2022.

The news came shortly after the results of the latest onshore wind tender in France, helping to revive the prospects for wind energy in France more broadly. The bids for the tender – which was fully subscribed – came in at a competitive average price of €63/MWh.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “Things are starting to look more positive for wind energy in France again with the results from the Dunkirk offshore auction and the latest onshore tender. The Dunkirk results are excellent news for offshore wind in France and are further proof that offshore wind is a competitive and mature energy source.

“And it’s good the French Government have now said on the back of the Dunkirk result that they’re going to increase the volumes of new offshore wind in their energy plan – to 1 GW a year. They should specify how much of this will be fixed-bottom and how much will be floating offshore wind. France were the only country in Europe to include a figure for floating wind in their draft National Energy Plan for 2030. They can increase that now and stake out their claim for industrial leadership in Europe on floating. Or maybe other countries will want a share of the jobs?”