France signals increased capacity targets

The government is "assessing the possibility" of increasing its targets for offshore wind in the multiannual energy plan (PPE), "but only if public support is not significantly increased," said Laurent Michel, director general of energy and climate in the ecology ministry.

Ideol's 2MW Floatgen demonstrator project is France's only offshore wind capacity operating today (pic: Ideol)
Ideol's 2MW Floatgen demonstrator project is France's only offshore wind capacity operating today (pic: Ideol)

Michel was speaking at a floating wind industry conference on Montpellier in April.

The draft plan, released in January, foresees an installed capacity of 4.7GW-5.2GW in 2028, with no fixed-foundation projects awarded at all in 2021 and 2022.

In reply, the French wind energy association (FEE) and renewable trade-body SER issued a joint call to increase the targets to at least 1GW of offshore capacity attributed each year, both fixed and floating, up to 2024.

They proposed launching two additional tenders, of 750MW each, for fixed-foundation projects to be awarded in 2021 and 2022.

Three additional tenders amounting to at least 750MW for floating arrays should also be awarded by 2025.

From 2025, the volume attributed each year should increase to 1.5GW. Overall, this would boost confirmed offshore capacity to 7.75GW in 2025.

Much now hinges on how far prices fall in the Dunkirk tender, the results of which should be announced this summer.

It is widely expected the winning bid will be under €60/MWh, well below the cap of €70/MWh. If so, the savings should be used to fund additional projects, the industry argued.

Assuming the tender is awarded at €60/MWh, that "would make it possible to finance, at the same price, a new project of more than 1GW, without increasing the budget initially allocated to offshore wind in the PPE", said Olivier Perot, President of FEE.

Michel is receptive, but under pressure from the finance ministry. "I hope the savings made in Dunkirk don't disappear and we can invest part of them in new wind farms," he said.

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