Wind Energy in France
2021 wind energy numbers
In 2021, over 1.2 GW of new onshore wind was built in France. This number lies slightly above the 2020 figure but well below the average of 1.5 GW over the 2016-2019 period. It should in the future increase to 2.6 GW per year to reach the newly set targets for 2023.
This brings the total wind power capacity to 18.9 GW. Wind and solar now jointly represent 53% of France’s renewable installed power capacity, while wind alone represented one-third of the total renewable electricity production and 7.8 % of the national electricity demand in 2021. Total annual electrical energy output from wind was 36.8 TWh, a significant decrease from 2020. This decrease results from an exceptional capacity factor of 26.5 % reached in 2020.
During 2021, new measures have been put in place, including the start-up of the definition of specific areas suited to the development of onshore wind.
The four awarded offshore projects from the 2012 tender are now under construction, while two procedures of competitive dialogue are ongoing for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind.
To learn more about France's wind energy sector, please read their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2021 Annual Report.
Along with the Paris Agreement during COP21, France defined new trajectories for renewables after adopting the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act in 2015. In 2021, objectives previously defined were confirmed, and set the following targets for energy:
- 23 % renewable energy of electricity demand in 2020.
- 33 % renewable energy share in 2030 (40% in electricity), with a decrease of 40% in GHG emissions (with respect to 2012).
- A reduction for nuclear to 50% share of electricity.
To practically reach these targets, the Pluriannual Energy Program (Programmotion Pluriannuelle de l’Energie, PPE) defines renewable energy target trajectories between 2018 and 2023. New trajectories for each renewable energy source are defined in the PPE.
Progress & Operational Details
During 2021, over 1.2 GW of new onshore wind power capacity was built in France. This number lies slightly above the 2020 figure but well below the average of 1.5 GW over the 2016-2019 period. This deployment rate will require a step increase above 2.6 GW per year to reach the newly set targets of the PPE for 2023. End-of-year capacity has reached a total of 18.9 GW, with installed capacity concentrated in the North and East of the country.
Due to a poor capacity factor of 23% obtained in 2021, well below the record high of 26.5% reached in 2020, wind-generated electricity production totalled 36.8 TWh, a 7.2 % decrease with respect to 2020. The percentage of electricity demand (excluding overseas territories) met by wind energy decreased to 7.8%.
National RDD Priorities and Budget
The development of offshore wind and large wind turbine technology has been a priority in recent years. The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) is the driving funding agency for applied RD&D projects in this area. ADEME funds and administers three kinds of projects: PhD theses; R&D projects for intermediate technology readiness levels (TRL); and the Programme des Investissements d’Avenir (PIA), which is dedicated to industrial projects and funded by subsidies, reimbursable aids, and possibly equity.
After a call for proposals in 2009 on ocean energies, which included floating wind technologies, another call was launched in 2013, and four industrial demonstration projects were awarded by ADEME (see the IEA Wind TCP 2015 Annual Report).