The biggest wind power installation to be built so far in France is under way at Fruges in the northerly Pas-de-Calais département near the Channel coast. The 140 MW project was developed and is being built by Ostwind International, the French subsidiary of German developer Ostwind. It has been a long haul for Ostwind. The project was downsized from 234 MW because of local opposition and then further delayed in the courts before finally getting the go ahead in December 2005. The 70 Enercon E70 2 MW turbines will be installed in several phases, with the first tranche of 10 MW being commissioned early 2007 and the last coming online in mid-2008. Ostwind will retain ownership of 30 MW, to be operated by its newly established subsidiary, Ostwind Production, also based in France. Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, a pure-play global wind fund owned by international fund manager Babcock & Brown, bought 22 MW last June (Windpower Monthly, June 2006) and has recently agreed to buy an additional 62 MW, while a group of French private investors has bought 18 MW, leaving 8 MW as yet unsold. Renewables producer Theolia is apparently out of the running as an owner. Fruges is not only Ostwind's biggest installation ever, but also only the second in France for the company, the first being a 1.2 MW turnkey project for a private investor at St-Clément in the southerly Ardèche département. Ostwind estimates its total portfolio in France could reach 500 MW. So far the company has developed and completed 357 MW worldwide.
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