France launches 3GW onshore tender

FRANCE: The industry welcomed the launch last week of a tender for up to 3GW of onshore wind over the next three years.

France will hold six 500MW auctions between 2017 and 2020

It "gives visibility and stability to developers," said Pierre-Albert Langlois, responsible for law and regulations at French wind energy association FEE.

The tender is open to projects of seven turbines and above, and smaller projects where at least one turbine exceeds 3MW.

There will be six bidding rounds of 500MW each, starting in December 2017, and then every six months until June 2020.

Only authorised projects will be eligible, although this will be waived for the first round, when developers will only have to show they have begun the permitting process.

The successful bids will be made on the basis of price, with a ceiling set at €74.8/MWh.

Chosen candidates will receive a top-up to the market price to match their bid price. They will have 36 months in which to bring the projects on line. Contracts a valid for 20 years.

Support ruling

In a separate move, the European Commission approved the French support mechanism for onshore wind farms of six turbines or fewer, and all under 3MW.

Such projects will be eligible for a top-up payment by direct application, without having to go to tender.

The reference price is set at €72-74/MWh depending on the rotor size, falling to €40/MWh after a predetermined number of production hours each year.

"The commission's decision provides essential regulatory certainty to investors going forward," said WindEurope chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu.