Energy road map gets mixed reception

FRANCE: Onshore wind capacity will more than double and offshore wind reach around 5GW by 2028, according to the French government's draft energy plan (PPE) outlined by president Emmanuel Macron.

French president Emmanuel Macron sets out the plans for the draft energy plan (pic: Palais de L'Élysée)
French president Emmanuel Macron sets out the plans for the draft energy plan (pic: Palais de L'Élysée)

While the onshore target was deemed "satisfactory" by the industry, the plans for offshore wind fell far short of expectations.

The PPE, which lays out the strategy for meeting France's energy targets – including sourcing 40% of electricity from renewables in 2030 – foresees onshore wind reaching around 35GW in 2028, compared to 15GW today.

PPE Targets (GW) Nov 2018 2023 2028
Onshore Wind 14.4 24.6 34.1-35.6
Offshore Wind 0.002 2.4 4.7-5.2

"The targets could have been more ambitious, but the government confirms that onshore wind energy, through its competitiveness, its reliability, its capacity to create jobs and its energy and environmental coherence, is a pillar of the energy transition in France," said Olivier Perot, president of French wind energy association (FEE).


As for offshore, Macron said the government would launch four tenders by 2022, including the 500MW already tendered at Dunkirk.

He did not specify whether the other three tenders would be for fixed-foundation or floating wind, nor how the targets would be split.

By contrast, the industry is calling for a regular programme of tenders amounting to roughly double the government goals.

"The milestones set for offshore wind will not ensure a sustainable energy transition, nor the growth of the industrial sector and its associated jobs," FEE said.

Eolfi, one of the six floating wind specialists which called for a clear capacity pipeline of at least 3GW by 2023 "deplores" the PPE targets.

"France will not succeed in its energy transition and the structuring of an industrial sector of the future with timid half measures," the company said.

At the same time, Macron confirmed that France's last four coal-fired power plant would close by 2022 and announced that the target of 50% nuclear energy in the electricity mix would be pushed back to 2035, not 2025 as currently enshrined in law.

To achieve this, 14 of France's 58 reactors would be decommissioned by 2035, Macron said. However, he did not rule out building new reactors in future.

"Nuclear power remains a promising avenue for reliable, low-cost energy. Let's stop saying that we have to close reactors so that renewable energies find their place. This is not true," he stated.

The draft PPE will now be released for public debate during three months, with the final version expected next spring.

In the meantime, the wind industry will be lobbying hard to improve the provision for offshore wind.

"It will be difficult, but not totally impossible," said Marion Lettry, assistant executive commissioner of renewable-energy trade body SER.

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