Representatives of the French offshore wind energy industry, and regions in the country involved in it, have issued an appeal to the government about its review of subsidies for early projects.
At the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2018) an appeal to the government – dubbed the Cherbourg Appeal – was released that was signed by representatives of more than 60 different organisations and by French politicians.
Among those signing the appeal was the Syndicat des énergies renouvelables (SER, the French renewable energy association), which was holding a meeting during the event.
The signatories to the appeal called on the government not to renege on commitments to provide agreed levels of support for offshore windfarms, despite the steep fall in the cost of offshore wind since the deals were awarded, in 2012. They also called on the government to provide greater support for marine renewable energy.
The offshore wind projects being reviewed are Courseulles-sur-Mer, St-Nazaire and Fécamp, which were awarded to a consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles; and St-Brieuc, awarded to Iberdrola and Eole RES. These contracts were awarded in 2012. Also potentially affected are Dieppe-Le Tréport and Les Iles d'Yeu et Noirmoutier, both awarded to a consortium led by Engie in 2014.
All the projects were given tariffs of circa €200/MWh (US$240/MWh), including grid connection, which far exceeds current norms given the fast pace of cost reduction in the offshore wind industry and zero-subsidy bids for some, if not all, offshore windfarms.
As highlighted by OWJ, the decision by the government to renegotiate the tenders followed criticism of the level of subsidies from the French energy regulator, CRE, and could have wide-ranging ramifications for the country’s renewable energy industry.
Talks with the developers of the projects are being led by the former president of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, Gérard Rameix, and should be completed by July.
Should reductions in the level of tariffs awarded to the projects not be agreed, the threat of cancellation hangs over them.