European Commission approves state aid for French offshore wind farm

Decision clears path for winner to be picked next year from six-strong shortlist for up to 1.5GW project off Normandy coast

France has secured the European Commission's approval to grant support, under EU state rules, for an offshore wind farm, slated to be 1.0-1.5GW in capacity, off the Normany coast.

The commission said the state support would take the form of additional remuneration granted following a competitive call for tenders, based on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria, and specific to offshore wind power.

Several groups have been shortlisted as bidders for the project, which will be developed in an area off the Contentin coast. The French government expects to announce the tender winner next year, with the wind farm then expected to be operational in 2028. When complete, it is expected to produce 4.5TWh of electricity a year for at least 20 years.

The commission said the aid would help France — and the EU — produce more energy from renewable sources, in accordance with the objectives of the European green deal and climate law, while the possible distortions of competition generated by state support would be minimised. It therefore meets state aid rules.

The project comes under France's multi-annual energy programme, known as PPE, which came into force in 2020 and includes a goal to put 8.75GW of new offshore wind projects up for tender by 2028.