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French Energy Regulator Urges Offshore Wind Fixes After EDF Wins

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June 15, 2023

(Bloomberg) —

France must overhaul its offshore wind farm auction process to stimulate investment and competition if it wants to hit President Emmanuel Macron’s target for 50 facilities by 2050, the country’s energy regulator said.

The government should launch a tender for 10 gigawatts of projects on multiple shores before 2027, and limit the ability for any bidder to sweep auctions, the body said. Consortiums led by state-owned Electricite de France SA won five out France’s eight offshore wind tenders since 2012, including the latest in March, prompting the regulator to express concerns about EDF’s grip over the supply chain.

Macron’s plan for 50 facilities would be a significant contribution to the nation’s plan to become carbon neutral by mid-century. However, France is lagging behind neighbors such as the UK, Germany and Belgium, with just one off-shore facility in operation and a handful of others under construction. 

It is “fundamental to seek an optimal framework for the development of the industry,” Commission de Regulation de l’Energie said in a statement Wednesday. It also published the findings of a international benchmark of government auctions carried out by Compass Lexecon. 

The French regulator’s recommendations included:

  • The ability for a bidder to win too much acreage or capacity should be limited
  • The government should try to award rights in fully-permitted areas to limit development lead times
  • Auction winners in the medium-term should be allowed to sell part of the output of the wind farms outside the government support system

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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