French grid connection costs to rise substantially

FRANCE: Changes in the way grid connections costs are handled are going to increase wind project costs substantially and put some projects in jeopardy, the industry warns.

Up until 2010, developers paid for the connection but were then eligible for a 40% reduction in the fee for using the network. After 2010, however, developers were required to pay the full cost of network usage.

This change lead to the cost of grid connection increasing from 6-9% of the project cost, according to some estimates.

And the cost is now set to rise further with the introduction of the regional grid connection plans currently being drawn up.

In those plans already completed, the grid operator RTE looks at all the new capacity anticipated in the new regional wind power plans and calculates the global cost of upgrading the network to absorb the additional capacity.

These costs are then apportioned among new installations according to the number of megawatts.

While the industry welcomes the plans for providing greater visibility, it argues that the upgrades are of common benefit to all users of the network and should be shared equally.

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