Offshore Wind Power Gets Going In France

Germany made news this spring when it announced it would wean itself from nuclear power by 2022, but no country relies on nukes more than France; they supply a world-leading 74 percent of the country’s electricity. The French haven’t said they’ll ditch the atom like the Germans will, but they are now making a real push toward diversifying with renewable energy – including offshore wind power.

This month the government dangled $10 billion Euro to develop offshore wind capacity, and six industry players immediately joined forces to grab a piece of the business. EDF Energies Nouvelles is the glue holding together the consortium; it will hold a majority interest in the parent company, joined by DONG Energy, Nass & Wind Offshore, Poweo ENR, wpd offshore and Alstom.

offshore wind turbine, Alstom

image via Alstom

According to the Wall Street Journal, France is looking to get 3.5 percent of its electricity from offshore wind by 2020. That might not sound like a huge amount, but the French are starting from zero, according to Reuters, so it will require putting up some 1,200 turbines off the north and west coasts of the country.

The consortium will feature what it called “a new generation” of offshore wind turbines made by Alstom. “New, innovative equipment with unmatched performances will provide a unique opportunity to design a wind turbine using French technology,” the companies said,”completely manufactured and assembled in France.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • BlueRock

    > …they supply a world-leading 74 percent of the countryu2019s electricity. nnThis is one of those claims that has been repeated so often that it’s taken on the appearance of gospel truth. In reality, it’s highly debatable – see:nn* Does France get 78% of its electricity from nuclear? Well, not really. [link redacted]nn> The French havenu2019t said theyu2019ll ditch the atom…nnBut they are discussing it:nn* France includes nuclear power exit among options. Poll shows three quarters of French want full exit. [link redacted]nn~~~nnDear ET admin: any chance you’d remove pre-moderation for every comment that includes links? It’s not 1998 any more!

  • BlueRock

    > …they supply a world-leading 74 percent of the countryu2019s electricity. nnThis is one of those claims that has been repeated so often that it’s taken on the appearance of gospel truth. In reality, it’s highly debatable – see:nn* Does France get 78% of its electricity from nuclear? Well, not really. [link redacted]nn> The French havenu2019t said theyu2019ll ditch the atom…nnBut they are discussing it:nn* France includes nuclear power exit among options. Poll shows three quarters of French want full exit. [link redacted]nn~~~nnDear ET admin: any chance you’d remove pre-moderation for every comment that includes links? It’s not 1998 any more!