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France: The onshore wind power support scheme is now complete

  • France
  • Energy and infrastructure

24-05-2017

The ministerial order dated 6 May 2017 and the tender specifications published on 5 May 2017 by the Regulatory Commission of Energy (CRE) for the November 2017 – June 2020 period conclude an intense period of regulatory activity lead by the outgoing Government for the creation of an attractive support scheme for the development of wind power.

The end of the Feed-in-Tariff scheme

The changeover from Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) to Feed-in-Premiums (FiPs) began last year when the 17 June 2014 tariff order was repealed by a ministerial order dated 13 December 2016, which also provided for a switching procedure from FiT to FiP contracts. The FiP scheme aims at bridging the gap between the market price and a regulated price called the ‘reference price’.

As of 2017, there are two support schemes. First, a FiP for wind farms of 7 wind turbines or more via a competitive tendering procedure (1) and second, a FiP for wind farms of 6 wind turbines maximum via an ‘open window’ scheme which is not subject to competitive tender (2).

Facilities can nevertheless keep the benefit of the FiT scheme if a ‘certificate giving right to the purchase obligation’ (CODOA) has been obtained or if a complete application for a FiT contract (DCCA) has been submitted before 1 January 2016.

(1) The tendering procedure for larger wind farms

The call for tender now constitutes the standard procedure. Eligible facilities must be new and have to contain at least 7 wind turbines, or at least one wind turbine exceeding 3 MW, or have had their ‘open window’ application for FiP rejected by EDF.

The tenders will be run in six phases of 500 MW each. Price per MWh will be the sole selection criteria, the limit being set at 74.8 €/MWh. A bonus of 2 to 3 € is added for projects with participatory investments.

Candidates for the 1st period must submit their offer between 1 November and 1 December 2017.

The terms and conditions of the FiP scheme are set out in articles R. 311-26 et seq. of the Energy Code (derived from a Decree dated 27 May 2016) and specified in the tender specifications. In particular, EDF must conclude a 20-year FiP contract with the selected candidate within 6 months of its FiP application.

(2) The ‘open window’ scheme for smaller wind farms

The ‘open window’ scheme is only open to new projects with 6 wind turbines or less, all 6 wind turbines being of 3 MW or less.

The ministerial order dated 6 May 2017 setting out the conditions of the FiP scheme applicable to the electricity produced by facilities using wind energy, of a maximum of 6 wind turbines incorporates most of the provisions of the ministerial order dated 13 December 2016.

The following changes have nonetheless been made:

  • the basic price is decreased from 82 €/MWh to between 72 and 74 €/MWh
  • the basic price is no longer determined in relation to the annual operating time but in relation to the rotor diameter
  • the duration of the contract is extended from 15 to 20 years
  • the complete application for the FiP (‘DCCR’) must now contain the new ‘environmental permit’
  • the splitting of facilities issue is addressed by requiring a 1.500 metres distance between two projects seeking a FiP (the same distance as under the FiT scheme), except in the case of proven independence between the neighbouring operators.

Facilities which have submitted a complete FiP application before 30 July 2017, under the ministerial order dated 13 December 2016, the date of its repeal, are allowed to keep the benefit of the 82 €/MWh basic price (art. 4 28 April 2017 Decree).

For both procedures, the FiP will take effect at the producer’s chosen date, after the certificate of conformity is issued to EDF.

This new support mechanism, duly approved by the European Commission, should provide greater stability in the market and it is hoped will help deliver the targets set by the Government in the Multiannual Energy Plan (MEP): 15.000 MW by 2018 and between 21.800 and 26.000 by 2023. The capacity installed at the end of 2016 was 12.065 MW, representing a significant increase of 45% in 2016 according to ‘France Energie Eolienne’.

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