With an end of year installation rush under way, total installed wind capacity in mainland France looks set to reach close to 700 MW by the end of 2005 -- an increase of 300 MW during the year and double the new capacity installed in 2004. At the end of November, the French wind total had reached 600 MW, thanks to recent completion of some big projects, the latest of which is 39 MW at Ally-Mercoeur, in the Haute-Loire département of southern France. The plant, owned 95% by Canada's Boralex and 5% by French corporation Perfect Wind, was developed by Sofiva Energie. GE Energy provided the 26, 1.5 MW turbines and acted as project leader, with Cegelec as general contractor. Ally-Mercoeur takes over from the 32 MW Haute-des-Ailes plant (Windpower Monthly, November 2005) as France's largest wind station. Boralex is also bringing two more projects online this month. The larger is at Cham de Cham Longe, in the southerly Ardèche département, comprising 12 GE 1.5 MW turbines. It is also 5% owned by Perfect Wind and was developed by Sofiva Energie. The second is an 8 MW plant at Plouguin in Brittany, with four Enercon machines. Other projects due for commissioning in December include the privately owned Chapelle d'Eole plant (six Repower 2 MW turbines) in the Aube, northeast France, and two for EDF Energies Nouvelles: Freyssenet (five Vestas 2 MW machines), also in the Ardèche, and St-Martin des Besaces (two Vestas 3 MW units) in Normandy. La Compagnie du Vent completed its 3.4 MW Plourin station in Brittany in November, comprising four Gamesa 850 kW turbines. Gamesa also provided five 850 kW turbines for La Compagnie du Vent's Brem-sur-Mer project, located in the Vendée on the Atlantic coast; commissioning is due to take place this month.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol