Capacity - French additions trend short of target

EUROPE: France added 1,036MW to its total operating wind capacity in 2009 to end the year at nearly 4.6GW, according to figures just released by the environment ministry.

This was slightly less than the 1.06GW of new capacity added in 2008 and well below the 2GW a year required for France to meet its target of around 25GW of operating wind power by 2020.

It was enough, however, for France to maintain its position as Europe's fourth-largest wind market in both new and total capacity, behind Germany, Spain and Italy.

Of last year's additions, 36MW is located in the overseas territories, while more than half the total capacity is located in just five regions: Picardie, Lorraine, Bretagne, Centre and Champagne-Ardenne.

Ministry figures show a further 4.7GW in the queue for connection in mainland France and 12MW overseas. However, this includes a number of projects still in the construction permitting process or subject to an appeal. Not all of them will see the light of day.

Wind turbines in mainland France and Corsica generated 7.6TWh of electricity in 2009, a 33% rise on 2008. According to a separate report by the grid operator RTE, the maximum generated in a single day was 79GWh on November 23.

The peak was at 4.30pm, when 3,417MW was online - a load factor of more than 75%. Load factor, or capacity factor, is the percentage of maximum output achieved by a plant over the course of a year.

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