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Wind power-theelectricityoftomorrow
Wind power is now the 3rd source of energy in France. Its weight in the French energy mix is set to increase in the context of the energy transition, with the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050.

1- Wind power, at the heart of our energy mix
 

In France, electricity produced by renewable energies (hydraulic, wind, solar, methanation) supplements the electricity production of nuclear power stations and fossil fuel power stations (“energy mix”). Along with other renewable energies, wind energy helps to secure the production of electricity. 

The weight of wind power in our energy mix (2020 figures) :

  • Wind power is the 3rd source of energy in France, after nuclear and hydraulic and ahead of gas production (which accounts for almost all of French thermal production);
  • Onshore wind produced 8.8% of national electricity consumption over the year (the equivalent of 2 hours/day of electricity on average) and represents the 2nd most used renewable electricity source (31.2%) after hydropower (51.4%);
  • France is no. 1 in terms of onshore wind power resources in Europe;
  • The 8,000 French wind turbines produced 40 TWh, which corresponds to the electricity consumption of nearly 8 million households.
     

2- Towards a low-carbon and diversified energy mix ?


Some forecast figures : 

  • The demand for electricity will increase significantly: +20% by 2035 and +40% to 50% by 2050;
  • By 2030, wind power should represent more than 20% of our electricity production;
  • By 2050, wind energy could make it possible to achieve more than 80% of renewable electricity in France
     

French wind power development objectives

The objective that France set itself in the Energy and Climate Law of 2019 is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with the intermediate objective of increasing the share of renewable energies to 40% of electricity production by 2030, while addressing the expected increase in demand for electricity. The development of renewable electric energies must contribute, on the one hand, to the achievement of climate objectives by replacing fossil-fuelled means of production and, on the other hand, to the diversification of the energy mix. 

The deployment of wind power is in line with these objectives. The 2023-2028 Multi-Year Energy Plan (PPE), which sets out the guidelines for energy policy, plans to multiply the installed capacity of onshore wind turbines by 2.5 by 2028 and to continue to develop wind power at sea. 

Measures to boost the acceptability of wind turbines

The controlled and responsible development of wind power in France means that the installation of a farm is no longer subjected to but accepted by communities and residents. In October 2021, the Minister for Ecological Transition announced 10 measures around three key areas, to ensure that the deployment of wind farms is compatible with the protection of biodiversity, heritage and landscapes and that it takes the concerns of residents into greater consideration :

  • Instruction of projects with the highest level of standards : 
    • Instruction to the prefects to map the areas suitable for the development of wind power (first results in November 2021);
    • Instruction to the prefects to apply the highest level of standards with regard to the compatibility of wind projects with local environmental issues, resulting in the refusal of authorisation requests in the event of unacceptable environmental impacts;
    • Creation of a wind power mediator within the Ministry of Ecological Transition for the most controversial wind farm projects.
  • Reduction of the impact of wind farms for local residents :
    • Noise reduction if authorised thresholds are exceeded (systematic noise checks from 1 January 2022);
    • Reduction of impact on light;
    • Complete excavation of the foundations and obligation to recycle 90% of dismantled wind turbines from 2022.
  • Encouraging communities and citizens to participate more in decisions :
    • From the beginning of 2022, mandatory consultation with the mayor before launching a project;
    • Establishment of regional energy committees;
    • Support for the development of citizen projects;
    • Creation of a natural and cultural heritage safeguard fund, supplied by 1% of sales of electricity from wind power in France, in order to address concerns relating to landscapes. 

 

Sources : Ademe; Ministry of Ecological Transition; RTE; Totalenergies.fr; Les Échos; Novethic

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