PARIS (Reuters) - France is set to become Europe’s second biggest generator of electricity from wind power behind Germany by 2030, overtaking the UK and Spain thanks to policies being put in place by the current government, according to an industry association.
WindEurope’s chief executive Giles Dickson told a conference in Paris on Wednesday that France’s outlook for offshore and onshore wind power projects was the best in Europe.
“France is number four in terms of installed capacity.We estimate that by 2030, thanks to the policies of the current government, France will overtake the United Kingdom and Spain in terms of installed capacity,” Dickson said.
He declined to give figures behind the forecast, adding that a detailed forecast for European projects will be published next week.
However, he said: “From where we are sitting in Brussels, and looking at what is happening across Europe, the outlook for France is maybe the most positive that we are observing.”
The forecast suggested that wind’s share of French electricity generating capacity would be above 25 percent in 2030, and if all goes well, France would become second in Europe behind Germany, Dickson said.
French President Emmanuel Macron plans to increase the share of renewable generation in the French electricity mix by launching a tender competition for 26 gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity during his first term so as to curb France’s dependency on nuclear power.
France, a net power exporter in Europe, depends on atomic energy for over 75 percent of its electricity needs. The government plans to reduce that to 50 percent by 2025.
However, if France is to meet the target of increasing installed wind capacity to 15 GW by the end of next year, and double current capacity to 26 GW by 2023, it would have to ramp up projects and remove administrative hurdles that have hampered new developments, Olivier Perot, head of French wind lobby FEE, told the conference.
Wind electricity production in France amounted to about 11 terrawatt-hours (TWh) in the first half of 2017 and represented about 4.5 percent of French electricity consumption, according to data from the ecology ministry.
Installed wind electricity capacity stood at 12.3 GW as of June 30, while projects under construction amounted to 11.6 GW, the data showed.
New projects connected to the electricity grid in the first half of 2017 reached 519 megawatts, a 9 percent drop compared with 2016.
Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Geert De Clercq, Greg Mahlich