France

Wind Energy in France


france.jpgWind power is an increasingly significant source of renewable electricity production in France, accounting for nearly 28% of all installed renewable power capacity. France set a new record for wind power industry development in 2017, with over 1.6 GW of newly installed wind power capacity. These installations bring the country’s total land-based installed wind power capacity to approximately 13.5 GW.

The record installation rates are the continued result of simplified administrative procedures and better visibility in terms of regulatory changes. The annual electrical energy output from wind was 22.6 TWh, a significant increase from 2016. This increase is the result of higher installed power capacity, with an unchanged capacity factor with respect to the year before. Wind and all renewables covered 4.7% and 18.4% of national electricity demand, respectively.

The first call for tender of 500 MW of onshore wind power and some initiatives to facilitate wind deployment also occurred in 2017. Concerning offshore wind, the first phase of a competitive dialogue for a third tender in the Dunkerque area took place, as well as preparation of a new tender in the Oléron area. The start of studies for a commercial call for tenders for floating wind farms was also announced in 2017, following the ongoing wind farm pilot projects.

To learn more about France's wind energy sector, please read their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2017 Annual Report.

National Targets


New trajectories for each renewable energy source are defined in the PPE, leading to the following targets for installed renewable power capacity by the end of 2018:
  • 15 GW land-based wind power capacity
  • 0.5 GW fixed offshore wind power capacity
  • 10.2 GW solar energy
  • 25.3 GW hydroelectricity

Additionally, the following targets are set for the end of 2023:
  • 21.8-26 GW land-based wind power capacity
  • 3 GW fixed offshore wind, with between 0.5-6.0 GW of ongoing projects, depending on the outcome of the first projects and price levels
  • 18.2-20.2 GW solar energy
  • 25.8-26.05 GW hydroelectricity
  • 100 MW of installed tidal floating wind and wave power capacity, with between 200-2,000 MW of ongoing projects, depending on the outcome of the first pilot farm projects and price levels
  • The PPE is currently being revised and submitted to a public debate that will run up to 2018 and will define new objectives for the periods to come.

Operational Details


During 2017, France broke its 2016 record by connecting over 1,650 MW of new wind-power capacity, leading to a total of 13.5 GW of installed capacity. With a capacity factor almost equal to 2016, wind-generated electricity production increased 13% since 2016, totaling 22.6 TWh. The percentage of electricity demand met by wind energy increased to 4.7%. Should this high installation rate continue, the target set by the PPE will be reached by the end of 2018. The installation rate should, however, further increase to meet the 2023 target.

Annual wind-generated electricity production increased in 2017 as the result of a very active year for installations. The average capacity factor is estimated at 21.8%, which is significantly lower than the 2015 value of 24.3%.

National R,D&D Priorities and Budget


The development of offshore wind and large wind turbine technology has been a priority in the recent years. The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) is the driving funding agency for applied R,D&D projects in this area. ADEME funds and administers three kinds of projects: PhD theses; R&D projects for intermediate technology readiness levels (TRL); and the Programme des Investissements d’Avenir, which is dedicated to industrial projects, and funded by subsidies, reimbursable aids, and possibly equity.

France has a favorable situation for floating wind, local harbor facilities, and a local naval and offshore oil and gas industry capable of addressing this market. A dedicated call for tender for floating wind farm pilot projects highlighted the focus on floating wind.

Even though no national statistics are emitted on the R&D budget, 2017 remains a very active year, with the support to the four floating-wind pilot farm projects.