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French installations falling short of targets

FRANCE: In the first six months of the year, the country added 523.7MW of new wind capacity, bringing total installed capacity to 9713MW, according to figures recently released by the French Wind Energy Association, FEE.

Prime minister Manuel Valls promised a 'green year' in France
Prime minister Manuel Valls promised a 'green year' in France

Of the 523.7MW installations so far this year, Nordex supplied 28%, Vestas 26%, Enercon 18%, Senvion 16%, Siemens 6% and GE 6%, according to FEE.

The country is on track to install 1200MW this year, continuing the increase in activity seen in 2014.

However, it is still not enough to achieve France's targets. The draft law on energy transition currently going through parliament foresees renewables supplying 40% of electricity in 2030. This will mean adding around 2GW a year on average, FEE estimates.

The European national renewable energy action plan of 2009 required France to supply 23% of electricity by 2020. For wind specifically the plan was for 19GW onshore and 6GW offshore.

While the new law should help boost the sector, important barriers remain, including conflict with the military and a lengthy appeals process. The permitting process could also be further simplified.

The industry is also concerned about plans to replace the current premium purchase price with a top-up mechanism, in line with EU guidelines. Depending on how the top-up is calculated, it could "introduce significant risks and increase the cost of wind power," FEE warns. The permitting process could also be further simplified to reduce the risk of litigation, the industry association argues.

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