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France to set to fail 2020 EU wind target

FRANCE: France will miss its 2020 EU wind power target by 10GW, according to a new report by the independent economic research bureau Xerfi.

The Ploudalmezeau wind farm in Brittany. France currently has a wind capacity of 5.3GW
The Ploudalmezeau wind farm in Brittany. France currently has a wind capacity of 5.3GW
Installed capacity in France will not exceed 15GW by that date, the study concludes, far short of the 25GW required if France is to meet its binding EU target of 23% renewables by 2020. The current total stands at around 5.3GW.

While a favourable regulatory framework and "strong profitability" continue to attract investors, the situation could change, Xerfi argues.

The bureau believes there could be tough times ahead for the wind industry in France as a result of tightening fiscal policy and increased competition from other energy sources, including solar and gas.

Xerfi identifies two major threats. Firstly, lower productivity - and therefore profitability - as "new plant are increasingly located in less windy areas." Secondly, the risk of an unstable regulatory framework.

As the government tightened the permitting process in 2009 and 2010, "a number of decisions have shaken the sector and delayed projects," the study noted. It also referred to a lack of clarity regarding offshore deployment and deep cuts in the guaranteed purchase price for photovoltaic generation.

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