Government plan to speed up onshore deployment

FRANCE: A new ten-point plan, drawn up by state representatives, industry players and associations, aims to halve the time it takes to complete onshore wind power projects.

France hopes to reduce the time it takes to implement projects (pic: Nordex)
France hopes to reduce the time it takes to implement projects (pic: Nordex)

The measures, many of which have been under discussion for some time, "represent important progress which will enable France to accelerate the development of wind energy and support the energy transition," said renewable-trade body SER, which also said that several proposals fail to go far enough.

Noting that it takes seven to nine years on average to implement projects in France, with nearly 70% being challenged in the courts, the government plans to remove one level of jurisdiction and speed up the appeals process, thereby saving up to three years, it said.

The government will clarify the rules regarding the permitting process for repowering existing plant and simplify rules for grid connections. It will also continue to work with the air force and civil aviation authorities to lessen the constraints around radar and flight training zones.

Among a number of measures aimed at improving acceptability, a local tax currently standing at €7,400/MW will be redistributed so that at least 20% systematically goes to the communities hosting the turbines.

Only half the turbines in a project will have to be equipped with flashing aircraft warning lights, with the rest remaining constant, and future tenders will favour projects that promote local participation through crowd-funding.

Exactly how the proposals will work will become clearer as the government issues the necessary circulars and instructions.

Annual figures

FEE announced that France connected a record 1,692MW of wind energy in 2017, above the record set the previous year of 1,560.5MW.

FEE is "very confident" that the target will be met for 15GW by the end of the year and believe that, given the volume of projects currently under development.

"The industry has enough elements to target the upper end of the ... 2023 targets with more than 26GW of onshore wind and 3.2GW offshore," said Olivier Perot, President of FEE.

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