January 19 (Renewables Now) - The government of France on Thursday announced a set of measures to simplify the wind project approval process and cut development times.
The goal of the plan is to speed up deployment of wind power capacity and thus achieve the high end of France's onshore wind 2023 target, or 26 GW. The proposed measures are expected to halve the average time for completing and connecting a wind farm to the national grid.
The plan includes 10 points, among which proposals to remove one level of jurisdiction in the appeal process, reduce the number of nighttime lights on wind turbines, distribute a higher grid tax share to municipalities with onshore wind parks, give some sort of preference in tenders to onshore wind projects by local residents, and ease repowering.
The full report is available at https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/DP_Groupe_Travail_eolien_2018.pdf.
At present, between seven and nine years are necessary to take wind projects off the paper in France, as compared to only three-four years in Germany, said Junior Environment Minister Sebastien Lecornu.
France has set a 15-GW wind power target for 2018. On Thursday, French wind industry association France Energie Eolienne (FEE) said that the country has installed and connected to the grid 1,692 MW of wind farms in 2017, bringing the cumulative capacity to nearly 13.8 GW. The industry body's president Olivier Perot said that FEE is confident that France in on track to reach its 15-GW wind target, adding that the country can target the upper end of its 2023 goal of 26 GW for onshore and 3.3 GW for offshore wind.