With tenfold growth between 2005 and 2009, wind-powered energy
is and should continue to be a booming sector in France in the
coming decades. The French Government aims to increase the overall
capacity of the French wind power sector by a further factor of 10,
reaching a total of 20,000 MW by 2020. This strategy should favor
the development of wind power on both the French mainland and in
Corsica as well as in French overseas territories. The latter are
set to increase their self-sufficiency in terms of electricity
supply by reaching at least 50 percent of renewable electricity as
a proportion of final consumption by 2020 and by using innovative
electricity storage and grid management technologies.
In this context, the French Government has just announced a call
for tender for onshore wind power projects of an overall capacity
of 95 MW located in Corsica and certain French overseas
territories.1 This new tender confirms the French
Government's wind power development strategy, favoring tender
processes over open door projects. It also provides an interesting
insight into the conditions for wind power projects in France in
the context of the imminent announcement of a major call for tender
for 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy projects located along the
coasts of mainland France.
Similar to its solar power strategy, the French Government
policy in favor of wind energy is grounded in regulated
preferential purchase rates guaranteed over a 20-year period. For
open door projects, the regulated purchase rates currently stand at
€82 per MWh for the first 10 years and between
€28 and €82 per MWh for the following 10 years,
depending on the annual operational time of the electricity
production infrastructure. The preferential electricity purchase
rates applicable to the tender projects will, in contrast, be
determined on the basis of a reference purchase price provided by
the bidders. This reference price, which therefore remains outside
the scope of the unified price applicable to open door projects, is
the most crucial element of the bid, since it accounts for 50
percent of the selection criteria applicable to bidders and is
eliminatory if it exceeds a maximum price determined in the call
Due to the isolated position of Corsica and the French overseas
territories, the electricity grids of these regions are not
interconnected. Such small grids do not benefit from the balancing
effect of larger grids and are much more vulnerable to electricity
production variations. The use of "intermittent"
electricity sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines,
accordingly remains an ongoing concern. While supporting the growth
of wind power on small non-interconnected grids, the Government
also aims to reduce its potential adverse impact on such isolated
grids. For that purpose, bidders are required to provide a
"production guarantee," which will require the
implementation of production forecast systems and energy storage
facilities. Such "production guarantee" systems represent
a technological leap forward, in relation to which the bidders are
expressly required to provide insights into their research and
development programs and partnerships with research institutions or
Finally, due to their geographic location, some of the projects
will be required to use hurricane-proof technologies allowing for
the stowing away of the most vulnerable parts of the wind turbines
concerned, such as their blades.
Bidders have until May 30, 2011 to submit their tenders. The
projects selected are expected to start commercial production by
late 2013 – early 2014.
1. The relevant French overseas territories include
Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélémy, and Saint
Martin in the French Caribbean; French Guyana in South America; and
La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
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