France to tender 2.5GW offshore wind

France is holding two new tenders for fixed-bottom offshore wind, with about 2.5GW of capacity available across the two rounds.

France recently commissioned its first commercial-scale offshore wind farm (pic credit: Parc éolien en mer de Saint-Nazaire/Cbeyssier)

It is offering a roughly 1GW project 35km off Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the west and a roughly 1.5GW project 38km off the coast of Normandy in the north.

Developers need to submit an initial application by 23 December 2022. They will then be invited to discuss their project with public authorities before submitting a final application from February 2023.

Projects are due to be awarded in late 2023 or early 2024.

The launch of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Normandy tenders came before the recent commissioning of France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, and added to other auction rounds for sites off Brittany and Normandy, and in the Mediterranean.

France aims to have 18GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035 and 40GW by 2050. To reach these targets, the country plans to auction 2GW of offshore wind capacity annually from 2025.

Following the announcement of the two new rounds, industry body WindEurope called for Paris to start planning for tenders in 2024 and 2025 to give investors clarity and visibility and to ensure it keeps pace with its offshore wind ambitions.

France’s offshore wind sector has been embroiled in what industry association WindEurope has described as a long saga of “permitting hurdles, red tape and legal challenges”.

Since France held its first large-scale offshore wind tender in 2012, many projects have been repeatedly delayed by court challenges due to their impacts on the environment and the country’s fishing industry.