An offshore framework

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The current targets for offshore wind power in France are 1000 MW in 2010 and 4000 MW in 2015, but with only one project of 105 MW permitted and no end of administrative delays, even the government agrees that its 2010 objective is unreachable. All the more urgent, says the Renewable Energy Syndicate (SER), an industry lobby group, to establish an effective framework for scoring the 2015 goal.

In SER's submission to "La Grenelle de l'environnement," a nationwide process aimed at formulating government environmental policy (main story), SER argues that the most important task is to put in place clear and effective administrative procedures specifically tailored to offshore development. These should establish how to define a maritime wind power development zone, similar to the guidelines for designating wind development zones on land. Wind plant must be built within a zone to benefit from the country's fixed purchase prices for wind power.

The procedures should also make clear exactly how to calculate and distribute the local taxes accruing from offshore wind plant and how to handle the issue of potential interference with radar, among the many grey areas remaining. SER further recommends that there should be a one-stop shop for applications and that the cost of offshore grid connections should be born by the grid operator, as in Germany, and not the plant owner. In this way, other users would also have access to any new wires. At the same time, France should help develop and finance a major European grid with new international connections buried underground, says SER.

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