France takes the plunge and puts 3 GW of offshore wind to tender

According to recent reports by Agence France Presse (AFP), the French government has announced its intention to launch an international tender process to develop offshore wind farms that will add 3,000 MW of capacity to France's energy mix. France, which currently has no offshore wind capacity, intends to open the first of these wind farms in 2015.

It did not take place in May, the first date announced by the French government, but will be held in October. According to the French news agency AFP, next month the government led by Nicolas Sarkozy will convene an international public tender to develop a series of offshore wind farms. The French government will subsequently extend this tender with another 3 GW by 2020. Meanwhile, AFP reports that the first tender establishes the deployment of some 600 wind turbines, which would require investments amounting to some €10 billion.

To this end, the government has already identified ten marine areas that are potentially suitable for wind farm development. These areas are located in Normandy, Brittany and the regions of Pays de la Loire and Languedoc. One of the objectives of the tender process will be to create an offshore wind industry in the country, which, despite having 4.5 GW of onshore wind capacity, still has no large-scale wind turbine manufacturing facilities, with the exception of Alstom, which owns Ecotècnia the Spanish company that only manufactures turbines in Spain (although it also has manufacturing plants under construction in the US and Brazil).

Recently, the French utility GDF Suez announced that it had considered installing 700 MW of offshore wind capacity off France’s northern coast. Alstom has also stated its intention to produce its own offshore wind turbine using direct drive technology, as reported by Renewable Energy Magazine last May.

For additional information:

French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea


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