600MW offshore French project wins reprieve

FRANCE: The authorities in the Vendée region of western France have voted to support a project for 600MW near the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, off the Atlantic coast.

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The area had originally been selected as a priority zone for a forthcoming offshore tender, with strong support not only from the regional authorities but also from local fishermen and the majority of residents.

But President Nicolas Sarkozy ruled the area out of the tender last November at the instigation of the then head of the department, Philippe De Villiers, who is firmly opposed to wind power.

A change of leadership has led to a review of the decision. The local authorities are now pushing for the area to be added to the five zones already identified — on certain conditions.

The Vendée department wants a firm undertaking on local job creation. It also demands that it should not be asked to install more than the 230MW of onshore capacity already announced by 2020.

To date, the Vendée has 202MW in operation or permitted.

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