Wind energy in France : toward a reduction of regulatory constraints ?
With 1.5 GW of wind power capacity implemented, France was the second country that installed the largest number of wind turbines in Europe in 2016. Some political measures are currently being discussed in France in order to strengthen this dynamic.
On 20 October 2017, the French government announced the creation of a working group, tasked with addressing the issue of wind energy in France. This group is among other things composed of professionals of the wind power industry and the electricity sector, non-governmental organizations, lawyers, parliamentarians and associations of elected representatives. The purpose of this group is to ensure a better, simpler, and more consolidated regulation for wind power projects.
On 30 November, the working group released a list of measures that could be implemented in order to simplify the development of wind energy. Among these are measures proposed in order to guarantee the protection of landscapes and to regulate the development of offshore wind farms. But the most emblematic solutions that were proposed were those concerning the simplification of procedures, the taxation within the wind power sector, and the replacement of old wind farms.
On the one side, the working group highlighted the need to simplify the procedures concerning the installation of wind turbines : regarding the huge number of legal actions taken against wind energy projects in France, implementing solutions in order to avoid improper claims could lead to a significant time saving for wind farm developers. On the other side, a reform of the taxation of wind energy projects would lead to a better repartition of resources toward local communities that will host these projects and thus make them more attractive for communities. Finally, the growth of wind power should also be enhanced through the development of the process of repowering, which means the replacement of old turbines with less but more powerful ones.
The French government will decide in January 2018 which of those ideas will be implemented.