The Spanish giant already has stakes in 83MW of operational French onshore wind farms, and recently signed a deal to acquire French developer Aalto Power, which owns 188MW of onshore wind capacity and is developing another 636MW.
Iberdrola wants to further increase its onshore wind and solar portfolio in France, and intends to take part in the country’s forthcoming offshore wind tenders, the utility said.
The company did not reveal how much capacity it hopes to fund with this spending plan, but a spokesman said it would focus on investing in projects — rather than in other developers. The firm will “continue to look for further growth opportunities in the French renewable energy sector in the coming months”, he added.
Iberdrola chairman and CEO Ignacio Galán praised France’s multi-year energy plan, known as PPE, through which the country aims to boost its onshore wind fleet to 33.2-34.7GW from 15.5GW at the end of May 2020. The government is also targeting offshore wind capacity of 5.2-6.2GW by 2028. Only a single 2MW test turbine is currently installed in French waters. The plan sets out an auction schedule through to 2024.
In Galán's opinion, the PPE will "lead to a very significant reduction in emissions and pollution, create jobs, allow progress to be made in energy independence, generate a new industry of the future capable of innovating and exporting. and achieve much more competitive energy prices".
However, he added that France needs to accelerate the permitting process for new projects. Under the country’s existing procedures — which can take up to seven years, according to industry body WindEurope — developers cannot update their project plans to use the latest, more efficient turbines.