Onshore wind energy: some fifty more wind farms have received grants

France has awarded grants for onshore wind farms
  • Jonathan Rowe
  • 29.11.2023

Around fifty more onshore wind farms could be installed in France following a second tender this year, the results of which were published on Thursday by the French government.

For 2023 alone, the two tenders allocated around 2,000 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind capacity (taking into account that it will take an average of 18 to 24 months to come online). For the industry, this volume of orders is "good news".

In the latest tender process, 54 projects totaling 931 MW were selected, the Ministry of Energy Transition said.

"The very high level of subscription to the ministry's tenders is indicative of the accelerated pace of renewable energy deployment initiated by the government," the press release said.

Projects stalled in 2021 and 2022, and tenders were not always accepted because developers could not make them cost-effective due to material cost inflation.

The government's decision at the end of 2022 to index contracts to inflation changed the situation.

"France is the first country in Europe to do this and it means that tenders can work again," said Michel Joriat, CEO of France Renouvelables, with satisfaction.

The average price of the projects selected on Thursday was 86.94 euros/MWh (a price guaranteed to developers for 20 years if market prices fall below this level; on the other hand, they pay the state any profits made above this level).

"We are going to end the year with a very good performance for wind power," Mr. Gioriya added, although progress has yet to be confirmed, especially on the issue of prefectural permits, another factor that has slowed the industry's development in recent years.

In a draft energy strategy submitted for public consultation on Wednesday, the government plans to install 40-45 GW of onshore wind power capacity by 2035, up from 20.6 GW at present.

As for offshore wind power, he also explained on Thursday the location of two future floating wind farms already announced in the Mediterranean Sea opposite Port-la-Nouvelle and Fos-sur-Mer, each of which will eventually generate around 750 MW.

The first of these will be located more than 25 km off the Aude coast and will cover an area of 48 km2. It will later be expanded to 96 km2, more than 30 km from the coast.

The second one, located opposite Fos Bay, will be located more than 25 km from the coast and will initially cover an area of 52 km2, before being expanded to 103 km2.

The first two floating wind farms, whose technology is still being demonstrated, will be built "by summer 2024", initially at 250 MW each, with commissioning "expected in 2031".

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