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14 December 2010

France urged to hurry up and dive into offshore wind market

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PWC report says France could create a leading offshore wind market, but only if it rapidly issues 3GW tenders

The French government has been warned it could miss the boat when it comes to offshore wind energy, if it does not quickly launch its planned round of tenders to build up to 3GW of offshore wind farms.

The warning came from PriceWaterHouse Coopers in a report yesterday about the future of the European offshore wind market based on interviews with more than 60 senior executives at wind power firms.

It reveals frustration within the industry at France's failure to move forward with offshore wind plans, despite strong offshore wind resources and predictions the sector is likely to exceed the onshore market in terms of installed capacity by 2035.

In May this year, French Environment and Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo announced he would soon invite companies to tender for 10 offshore sites in a bid to boost capacity by 3GW.

However, despite reports last month that the government was on the brink of issuing tenders, the bidding process is yet to be launched.

PWC said French conditions are ripe for delivering a leading offshore wind sector because of its long coastline, strong industrial expertise and supply chain. But the consultancy warned it is lagging behind Germany and the UK in both the development of a manufacturing base and deployment of offshore wind farms.


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