October 11, 2018 / 3:30 PM / a month ago

French wind capacity could double with stable regulation - lobby group

* Wind sector could add over 2 GW per year

* Lengthy appeals, administrative hurdles delay projects

* Government aims to boost renewables in energy plan

By Bate Felix

PARIS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - French wind power developers could increase the rate at which they add capacity and boost their share of the energy mix if the government created a stable and simple regulatory environment in its long-term plan, industry lobby group FEE said on Thursday.

France is expected to unveil the plan at the end of the month which will set out targets, a timeline, and energy priorities to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear electricity and increase renewables energy.

The government has received proposals from industry for the plan, known as PPE, to cover 2019-2023 and 2024-2028.

It will lay out how and by when it will cut the share of nuclear in power generation to 50 percent from 75 percent.

Olivier Perot, president of France Energie Eolienne said the wind sector was currently adding around 1.5 GW to 2 GW of capacity per year and given the backlog of projects it could hit the upper end of the target and add up to 26 GW by 2023.

Although France is on track to reach its target of 15 GW of installed onshore wind capacity in 2018, it has lagged some of its European peers such as Germany.

It takes around six to seven years to develop a wind project in France compared with half that time in Germany.

Perot told journalists that Germany was adding around 4 GW of wind capacity per year.

He said the sector had the ability to add over 2 GW every year after 2023 to take France’s installed onshore capacity to 37 GW by 2028, representing around 18 percent electricity generation.

It also has a target for 3 GW of offshore wind in 2023, which could reach 10 GW in 2028.

For this to happen, Perot said the industry needed a stable and simplified regulatory environment.

“What we almost need is a sort of moratorium on regulations,” he said.

A 10-point scheme was announced by the government in January to remove administrative hurdles that have hindered the growth of France’s wind sector, and halve the time it takes for projects to come onstream.

But most of the reforms are still pending, said Pauline Le Bertre, a senior FEE official.

She said measures, such as those that aim to reduce the time it takes to develop projects, particularly one that would cut length of time it takes to deal with appeals against projects and accelerate the administrative procedure, have not been taken.

“The decree is being finalised and we hope that it will be published in the coming weeks,” Le Bertre said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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