rAccording to Agence France Presse (AFP), the French government will launch next month a tender for contracts of 10 billion euros ($12.6 billion) to build 3,000 MW of offshore wind capacity.
600 wind turbines will be implemented within five to ten sites in Normandy, Brittany and the regions of Pays de la Loire and Languedoc. They are scheduled to start producing electricity by 2015.
This may be only the beginning as the government wants to produce up to 6,000 MW via offshore wind by 2020.
By then the technology may enable us to build floating wind turbines with 10 MW of capacity each. This would allow this renewable energy source to generate more electricity without nobody even noticing.
It seems that France is more and more willing to play catch up with Denmark, the European pioneer in this renewable energy source. The United Kingdom also set aggressive wind energy targets earlier this year. To date France has absolutely no offshore wind turbines.
Three gigawatts of capacity is enough to power the cities of Lyon and Marseille combined (around 1.3 million people).
This is as much capacity as two nuclear EPR reactors. However, wind is an intermittent energy source compared with nuclear (a nuclear reactor produces electricity 80 percent of the time while wind turbines are about 35 percent)
Last month, the local energy giant GDF Suez announced that it is willing to invest 1.8 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to build a 700 MW wind-farm project in northern France. This site was previously selected as the most favorable in the country for developing the energy.
One of the goals is to create local jobs in manufacturing turbines as currently the country imports all its turbines. Despite having faced occasional harsh resistance from local communities, land based wind power already accounts for more than 4,000 MW.
If this plan is to be successful, France would need to install each year more than what the entire European Union installed offshore in 2009. This is a bold goal.
photo : Freefotouk