Wind Energy in France

france.jpgWind power is a significant renewable source of electricity production in France—second only to hydroelectricity. 2016 has been France’s best year in terms of industry development, with over 1.3 GW of new installed wind power capacity. These installations bring the country’s total land-based installed wind power capacity to approximately 11.7 GW.

The record installation rates are the result of simplified administrative procedures and better visibility in terms of regulatory changes. The annual electrical energy output from wind was 20 TWh, a decrease from 2015 despite higher installed power capacity, due to unfavorable wind conditions. Wind and all renewables covered 4.3% and 19.6% of national electricity demand, respectively.

Offshore wind also saw continued support in 2016, with the first phase of a competitive dialogue for a third tender in the Dunkerque area, as well as a preparation of a new tender in the Oléron area. The call for tenders for floating wind pilot farms also concluded in 2016, awarding three farms in the Mediterranean and one in the Atlantic.

Policies Supporting Development

To set renewable energy targets for 2018 and 2023, the Pluri-annual Energy Program (Programmation Pluriannuelle de l’Energie, PPE) was updated during 2015 and 2016. 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

By the end of 2023:
  • 21.8–26.0 GW land-based wind
  • 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, with between 200–2,000 MW of ongoing projects, depending on the outcome of the first pilot farm projects and price levels

Renewable Energy Targets

The introduction of the “Complément de rémunération” in 2016 marked a significant evolution of the regulatory framework. When generators sell their electricity directly in the market, they will receive these feed-in premiums in addition to the market price.

In agreement with the European Commission guidelines, the new scheme applies to projects requesting full power purchase agreements or a feed-in premium during 2016, and to all wind farms elected through a formal tender process as of 2017. A multi-annual tender for3 GW of new installed wind power capacity is planned with a yearly target of 1 GW distributed along two sessions.

Additionally, a competitive dialogue has been initiated to allow cost reduction in the offshore area of Dunkerque for the third offshore tender, while several preliminary studies in terms of wind resource assessment will be launched in the Oléron sector.