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Wind energy has the advantage of being unlimited and clean. It also brings positive economic benefits through job creation and income generated at the local level. 73% of French people have a positive image of wind energy.

1 - Wind energy is unlimited and clean

Wind energy is natural energy produced thanks to the wind, an inexhaustible resource which does not face any risk of shortage and or generate any emissions into the air following electrical transformation. Wind energy therefore makes it possible to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for climate change. Wind power generation mainly replaces that of power stations running on fuel oil, gas, and coal.

In 2020, 22 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided thanks to wind power.

Wind energy also has the particularity of having a higher yield in winter because the wind is generally stronger during the cold season. This is an important asset for the management of the energy network because the needs of consumers are clearly higher during the winter period.

2 - The wind sector creates jobs in France

At the end of 2020, the wind sector (onshore and offshore) represented 22,600 direct and indirect jobs and more than 600 companies of all sizes active on the French market and for export. These jobs are distributed over different sectors of activity: research and development, manufacturing of components, companies responsible for assembly, installation (civil engineering) and connection of wind farms, operation and dismantling, etc.

The wind industry has created jobs throughout France, with specific types of jobs concentrated by region. Thus, for example, industrial and civil engineering jobs are concentrated in historical industrial basins: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est and Occitanie, Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France and, in particular for offshore wind power, Pays de la Loire.

3 - The wind sector generates local income

The taxes owed by wind farm operators generate tax revenue at the local level, like any economic activity established in a territory. An onshore wind turbine thus brings in from €10,000 to €12,000 per year and per MW installed to surrounding local authorities. Landowners (farmers, in particular) receive from €2,000 to €3,000 per year and per MW for a wind turbine installed on their land.

4 - Wind energy is becoming increasingly competitive

To support the development of the wind energy sector and reduce costs, the government has set up a programme to support the production of wind power. Wind power is now becoming increasingly competitive. The cost of producing wind power was €82/MWh five years ago; today, the production cost of a wind MWh is around €60 and continues to decrease. It is estimated that it could reach €50/MWh by 2030. By way of comparison, the production cost of a new gas plant is estimated between €90 and €100/MWh.

Sources : ADEME; RTE; Ministry of Ecological Transition; Novethic

What do the French think of wind power?

Despite the rebellion against wind power in certain geographic areas, 73% of French people have a good image of wind energy and 71% are even in favour of the development of this energy. Membership in wind power is even more marked for people with a main or secondary residence within 10 km of a farm (80% have a positive image and 89% consider the development of wind power necessary).

In Hauts-de-France and Grand-Est, two regions with a large number of wind farms, the image of wind energy is slightly more positive than that measured among the French population in general.

The aesthetic aspect of wind farms, on the other hand, divides inhabitants, whether at the national or regional level. Thus, only 1 in 2 people consider wind turbines “rather beautiful” or “very beautiful”.

Source : Harris Interactive survey presented by ADEME and the Ministry of Ecological Transition on October 7, 2021

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