Almost there but not yet. No need to check the French energy regulator's website (CRE), the first ever call for tenders dedicated to offshore wind in France will be launched in April 2011. Meanwhile, the President and its services have given a few details:
- by 2015, up to 3 GW of generation capacity (half of the target) should be built in the Atlantic and The English Channel. The targeted project size should be of around 5MW for a number of 600 turbines.
- EUR 10 billions for the tenders;
- 5 pre-identified development zones (see map);
- tenders should be awarded in 2012;
- entry into operation of the mills in 2015;
- a second call for tenders to be launched for the other 3 GW.
Based on the French President declarations, a core motivation in delaying the call was the protection of a nescent national industry in a sector that cannot yet measure itself to the international competition. For an overview of the most competitive manufacturers, see article by the economic newspaper La Tribune. This delayed call for tenders will not prevent smaller projects to come on line, but it will definitively boost a late take-off in France. When the financing is in place, the administrative procedures to be applied will here be a cornerstone. There are currently around 30 offshore wind mills on the French coasts. The total generation capacity based on wind energy (both onshore and offshore) is estimated to has reached 6.5 TWh between January to September 2010, approximately 1.8% of the total national electricity consumption for the same period, which represents an increased by 38.42% compared to 2009. (Source: FEE).
References: Association France Energie Eolienne (FEE) (website)
Picture: France Info / Reuters.