Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
Despite having a considerable wind resource, France has historically not been dedicated to developing either the wind industry in particular or renewable energy in general. The Eole 2005 programme, introduced in February 1996, was designed to promote wind power but the programme did not live up to expectations.
The Electricity Law of February 2000 introduced legislation for opening the French electricity market to competition. Previously Electricité de France (EDF) had both sought tenders for wind installations and subsequently decided which would be selected. The Law thus effectively brought Eole 2005 to an end: it was only in 2003 that the wind sector in metropolitan France began to grow substantially. In both 2003 and 2004 annual growth was around 60% and 2005 saw a near doubling of capacity installed. By the end of the year capacity stood at 723 MW. There was a similar doubling during 2006.
The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) estimates that France has an onshore potential of 26 GW and 30 GW offshore.
In September 2005 France's first offshore wind farm was authorised to proceed. The 105 MW plant will be located off the coast of the Seine-Maritime Department. An invitation to tender has been issued for this project. In addition, bids have been invited for seven onshore plants totalling 278 MW.
EDF stated that at end-September 2005, out of a total of 3 251 MW renewable energy sources applying for connection to the national grid, 3 121 MW or 96% concerned wind.
In the context of the long-term plan for investments in electricity generation, an Arrêté of 7 July 2006 specifies the following targets for onshore wind energy: an additional 13 000 MW capacity by end-2015, of which 12 500 MW should be met by 2010; for offshore wind, the comparable targets are 4 000 MW by end-2015, of which 1 000 MW should be met by 2010.
During 2006 the French electricity tariffs for onshore wind and for offshore wind were revised in an Arrêté issued on 10 July.