April 16, 2019 / 4:31 PM / 2 days ago

Renewables industry urges France to raise wind project targets

FILE PHOTO: Power-generating turbines at a wind park in Moeuvres near Cambrai, France, September 16, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France needs to raise the minimum for wind power projects to 1,000 megawatts (MW) per year to boost the development of the sector, two industry lobbies said on Tuesday, if the country wants to reach its targets for renewable energy use.

The French Renewable Energy Association (SER) and France Energie Eolienne (FEE) said the government should launch two supplementary tenders of 750 MW capacity each between 2021 and 2022, and three other tenders of 250 MW capacity, and another 500 MW tender.

These will boost French fixed and floating offshore wind capacity to around 7,750 MW by 2025 from zero currently, the lobbies said in a statement, adding that below the 1,000 MW per year target, investments in the sector could be at risk because of the lack of a sufficient domestic market.

The current target of around 4,700 MW to 5,200 MW of tenders, or 540 MW to 665 MW per year by 2024 in France’s long-term energy plan known as the PPE, was insufficient, the statement said.

The government postponed the presentation of the energy plan last month, saying it was working on more ambitious targets to cut emissions and boost renewables.

Although France has 15,100 MW of onshore wind capacity as it races to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix, offshore wind generation is still to take off with no single turbine on its coastline connected to the grid.

After several years of administrative delays and local opposition to projects, the nuclear-dependent nation is set to make a new push on offshore wind following reforms aimed at removing hurdles.

A tender for a 600 MW project in Dunkirk has attracted a number of international energy companies. Energy market regulator CRE will publish its recommendations for the project in May.

Reporting by Bate Felix, editing by Louise Heavens

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