France's CNI seeks to boost wind sector

Single offshore permitting body proposed

France's National Council for Industry (CNI) has made a number of proposals to help boost the wind energy sector, including establishing a single permitting body for offshore wind.

The proposal follows President Francois Hollande's undertaking to simplify the permitting process for offshore wind — and marine energies in general. Although none of the CNI proposals are new, it has taken things a step further by drafting the required amendments.

Acknowledging "the multiplicity of regulations" and "lack of coordination between them", leading to legal uncertainty, the CNI recommends establishing a single authorisation regime dedicated to marine renewable energies. The regime should also cover the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), paving the way for the deployment of floating turbines.

Equally urgent is the need to allow operators to establish property rights in the "natural public domain", forbidden under current law. The appeal period for offshore installations should also be reduced to six months, instead of a year, the report recommends.

France is aiming at 6GW of offshore wind in 2020, although it is generally agreed that the target will not be met, partly due to the burdensome permitting process.

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