Offshore wind turbines: the government maintains pressure on the sector

Offshore wind turbines: the government maintains pressure on the sector

To force operators to reduce the cost to the state of future wind farms offshore, the executive threatens to cancel the tenders in the summer if no agreement is found.
Three months for to negotiate . After months of procrastination, the government finally finalized its offshore wind strategy. “A negotiation will begin in the coming days with the winners for make lower the costs ” explains the ministry of ecological and solidarity transition. “It will be up to the professionals to make proposals” , we warn. But if project costs remain high, the government threatens to simply cancel the tenders issued in 2012 and 2014 and to revive new ones on the same areas.
For understand this imbroglio, it is necessary come back at the launch of these first offshore tenders in la France in 2011: three were won by EDF, allied to Alstom (whose energy branch became General Electric), and one by Spain’s Iberdrola. In 2014, Engie and Siemens win another project off the Tréport (Seine-Maritime). At the time, the sector is enthusiastic and shows its optimism. But recourse is increasing, the regulatory framework is not ready, authorizations are slow in come . Projects get bogged down. All are experiencing significant delays and none should see the day before 2020, even 2021.
France appears to be lagging far behind its neighbors: while more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines are Europe and that the country has the first seafront of the continent, the Hexagon still has no offshore wind turbine in operation.
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“Significant price reductions”
Not only has everything lagged, but in addition, offshore costs have drastically declined elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Europe. Germany and Denmark . The government of Edouard Philippe has taken note of the deadlines but now considers that project promoters must accept lower their feed-in tariffs.
Essential element: at the time, tenders were awarded at electricity rates of around 190 euros per megawatt hour. In other words: the State undertakes to redeem at this extremely high price – six times more than the average market rate – over a period of twenty years, for support the creation of a nascent sector. Prices have since fallen in Europe: at UK or in Germany, they are now around 60 euros per MWh.
“Significant rate cuts are expected given those seen elsewhere in Europe” , they say to the government. But this comparison should be put into perspective: the older projects launched in Germany or the United Kingdom, currently under construction, have been at average costs of 160 to 180 euros per MWh, which is ” coherent ” with the French prices, ensures the Union of renewable energies (SER).
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“Use the same money to do more”
“We finally open negotiations” , rejoices Jean-Louis Bal, president of SER. “But that’s the only good thing: the prices announced in Northern Europe do not relate to projects that are currently taking place and are based on wind turbines that do not exist. If that led to reset all the projects, the industrial sector would be destroyed, the existing factories should dismiss he warns. According to the SER, this sector could generate more than 15,000 term jobs.
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The government assures that it is determined that these wind farms will be created and that it wishes to support this industrial sector. “We must do more renewable energy with the same means. It is necessary use the same money to do more » At the end of March, Minister of the ecological transition and solidarity Nicolas Hulot, at the Forum of the energy transition of Echoes . “It’s a very firm negotiation method” worries one of the project leaders.

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