French offshore wind plans under fire

06 February 2019 Week 05 Issue 191

The French government has revealed its latest tendering schedule for a new generation of wind projects, but its fixed offshore plans fall short of industry expectations.

As part of its 10-year energy strategy taking the country to 2028, the French Ecological Transition Ministry has published tender schedules for onshore, bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.

The plan is to grow the size of onshore tenders from 500 MW in the second and third quarters of 2019, to regular launches of 1,000 MW or more in Q2 and Q4 each year from the end of 2020.

The target is to have 34,100-35,600 MW of capacity by 2028.

The stated goal for fixed offshore wind is to reach 2,400 MW by 2023, and 4,700-5,200 M by 2028.

A 500-MW tender for the Dunkirk area is underway, with the results expected this summer.

This will be followed in 2020 by a 1,000-MW tender for the English Channel/North Sea region; and a 1,000-1,5000 MW tender in an as-yet undefined area in 2023 or 2024.

Critics point out, however, that the 2028 target includes around 3,000 MW in already-tendered capacity, with some projects at advanced stages of development. This only leaves room for a further 2,200 M GW in the coming decade.

The French Wind Federation (FEE) has called on the government to increase long-term targets to reflect price falls within the fixed offshore sector.

“These minimal objectives will deprive our country of an industrial, economic, energy and environmental opportunity that we are unlikely to encounter for a long time,” FEE president Olivier Perot said in a statement.

“Dunkirk … will unambiguously show great competitiveness, which should make it possible to reopen discussions on the objectives of multi-year energy plan.” Perot did, however, praise the draft for showing progress in terms of visibility and programming of the tenders, including the addition of price ceilings.

Floating offshore specialists welcomed the separate timetable for floating auctions, which plans for 250 MW of capacity off Brittany in 2021, 250 MW in the Mediterranean in 2022, and 250-500 MW in an as-yet undefined area in 2024.

But they too want the government to increase its targets in recognition of the emerging technology’s potential. The industry had lobbied for a target of up to 5,000 MW by 2030.After 2025 there will be annual 500 MW tenders for either fixed or floating turbines, but neither technology is guaranteed to win projects.

Edited by

Richard Lockhart


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