French ecology minister Delphine Batho
After months of uncertainty, French Ecology Minister Delphine Batho finally announced last week the second phase of a call for tenders for the construction of €3.5 billion worth of offshore wind farms to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
The announcement followed up on a promise made by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault during a government-hosted conference on the environment in September at which he and President François Hollande promised a plan to kick-start the renewables industry in France.
According to Batho, the projects will create 10,000 industrial jobs. The wind farms are planned for construction near Treport, in northern France, and near the Noirmoutier and Île d’Yeu islands on the Atlantic coast.
North Hoyle offshore wind farm
While this blog frequently focusses on wind power reporting in national-level newspapers, the regional-level or local newspaper does not get as much attention as it perhaps merits.
Last month I was in North Wales – a coastline which is home to the UK’s first large scale offshore wind farm called North Hoyle. It currently has one other operating offshore wind farm – Rhyl Flats, and a massive development is underway further out to sea at Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm which, when completed in 2013, is set to provide electricity to cover nearly one-third of homes in Wales.
There is, of course, local opposition. On this particular stretch of coastline the opposition group is called Save Our Scenery – slightly ironic given that the new offshore farm is 18 km offshore and will be frequently out of vision thanks to the often dense banks of Welsh cloud.
Many of us take electricity for granted. It’s there in the morning when we turn on the kettle and it’s there at night when we switch the lights on. But are people aware of the need to upgrade and extend Europe’s electricity grids? Does anyone know that there is no EU-wide market for electricity and of the benefits that such a market could bring?
The results of a new study, which come as EU institutions debate the ‘infrastructure package’ – the European Commission’s draft proposals for updating and interconnecting EU electricity grids – show just what people in Brussels think of electricity grids and the market. Here’s what they had to say:
Installed wind power capacity continued to grow around the world last year despite the ongoing financial uncertainty with Europe remaining the number one regional leader, according to a new report.
Europe’s installed wind capacity increased by 10,281 MW to 96,616 MW by the end of 2011, the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) annual statistics show. In the EU, the new total was 93,957 MW.
Asia was the second place regional leader with 21,298 additional MW of installed wind capacity, bringing its cumulative total to 82,398 MW. North America was in third place with an additional 8,077 MW last year increasing its total capacity to 52,184 MW.
Tempers seem to have frayed at yesterday’s EU Energy Council over the European Commission’s proposals for an EU-wide energy infrastructure package, the European Voice has reported. Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy, was “visibly frustrated” at the meeting of ministers after many of them said they could not accept transferring authority for energy infrastructure from regions to EU level, the website said.
The news comes as Energy Ministers across Europe were presented with a statement – supported by EWEA, Eurelectric, Europacable and 35 other organisations – calling for an internal EU market for energy and grid extensions and upgrades in order to boost security of supply, achieve our climate goals and bring more renewables online.