French President launches €10 billion tender for first offshore wind project

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a €10 billion tender for the country’s first offshore wind project, which will see 600 turbines constructed with a capacity of 3 GW.

The successful bidders for the ambitious project, which could span from five to ten as yet unannounced locations, will be announced next year.

“We are launching this first tender covering five development areas for offshore wind power in order to give the industry's players greater visibility,” Sarkozy said in a statement.

The development is widely seen as France’s attempt to catch up with its European neighbours on renewables. The country currently only meets less than 2% of its demand with wind power and is heavily dependent on nuclear power for around 80% of its electricity.

However, the French government has pledged to invest €20 billion in wind power to achieve 25 GW by 2020 to meet 23% of its electricity demand.

The expansion of wind power in France could create around 10,000 jobs in the sector, added Sarkozy.

Related stories:
Wind installations down by half in US, but offshore wind up in Europe (25-Jan)
France launches €1.35 billion renewables investment (16-Aug 2010)

27 January 2011