France to double onshore wind capacity by 2023

FRANCE: Onshore wind capacity should reach 15GW in 2018 and a minimum of 21.8GW by 2023, according to the latest targets announced by energy minister Segolene Royal.

To reach 15GW France will have to install over 1.5GW a year
To reach 15GW France will have to install over 1.5GW a year

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France currently has around 10.5GW operating onshore wind projects.

While the new onshore targets are slightly lower than those given in a discussion paper in mid-November, they are welcomed by the industry.

They give "a strong signal to the sector," said Damien Mathon, managing director of renewable-energy trade association SER.

To reach 15GW by 2018 the country will have to install over 1.5GW a year, higher than anything that has been achieved before. To reach the minimum requirement by 2023, annual installations will need to continue at around 1.4GW.

Achieving these targets, a faster permitting system that is less open to legal challenges is essential, according to the industry. Difficulties concerning military radar must also be resolved, and a legal framework established for repowering, which is going to become increasingly important from 2018, Mathon said.


Although the offshore targets were raised at the last minute — in response to lobbying — they are still disappointing to the industry.

Fixed offshore wind should reach 3GW of installed capacity in 2023, with up to 6GW additionally allocated by the government. The previous target, set in 2009, envisaged 6GW of offshore wind installed by 2020.

So far, the government has awarded 3GW and announced another tender for an unspecified amount.

Floating wind, which is included under marine renewables (MRE), fares even worse. Overall, MRE are aiming at just 100MW installed and up to 2GW attributed in 2023.

The sector needs higher volumes and greater visibility if it is to establish a healthy industrial base and drive down costs, the industry argued.

Wind energy targets

Installed capacity (MW) 2018 2023 Attributed projects 2023
Onshore 15,000 21,800-26,000 N/A
Offshore fixed foundation 500 3,000 500-6,000
Marine renewables* 0 100 200-2,000

* Includes floating wind, tidal power etc

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