France to showcase “innovative and powerful” wind sector at EWEA 2012

Around 35 companies will be taking part in the spotlight on the industry in the French pavilion, demonstrating their range of products and expertise.

France is planning to speed up the process of constructing three offshore wind parks, local reports revealed recently. An unconfirmed report in daily Le Figaro said the Government was poised to entrust local energy group EDF with the building of three offshore wind parks as part of a governmental tender.

According to UbiFrance, the French export-support agency, France has a number of significant natural advantages that are helping the country to establish itself as a major player in the wind-power industry: first of all, it has the second largest wind resource in Europe, after the UK; second, the French mainland has three coastlines; and, finally, the country boasts the world’s second largest maritime area (when overseas territories are taken into account). The country’s wind-energy sector is already worth over €2 billion.

The agency said that France’s R&D initiatives and industrial expertise put it in a position to develop an “innovative and powerful” wind-energy sector. Its wind-energy sector currently employs 11,000 people — a number which is set to grow to 60,000 by 2020.

As of the end of December 2011, France’s total onshore installed capacity stood at 6.6 GW. This number is set to rise to 19 GW by 2020, with offshore capacity alone reaching 6 GW. In 2011, the French government issued an initial invitation to tender for 3 GW, to be distributed across 500-600 wind turbines that will be built off the coastline, in the Channel, in the North Sea, and in the Atlantic Ocean.

UbiFrance said in a statement: “French companies involved in the wind-energy sector are taking advantage of this favourable situation and are using the domestic market to develop expertise that has been acquired in other sectors, such as metallurgy, aerospace and shipbuilding. Also thanks to an array of initiatives being implemented by various regional bodies, France’s wind-power sector has been expanding fast.”

The pavilion has been organised by UbiFrance, in partnership with France Energie Eolienne, the wind-power branch of the Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables, France’s renewable-energy trade association, and Windustry France, which unites more than 300 French wind-energy industrial stakeholders.