TotalEnergies Criticises Slow Wind Power Approvals in France

TotalEnergies has highlighted concerns over the slow approval process for renewable energy projects in France and the requirement to sell wind power to the government rather than directly to customers. Isabelle Patrier, director of TotalEnergies France, discussed these challenges ahead of the company’s inauguration of a 63-megawatt wind farm in northeast France.

France aims to have 45 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2050 to achieve carbon neutrality. Currently, only two offshore wind farms, totalling 0.97 GW, are fully operational, with project bidding taking 2.5 to 3 years on average.

“There are countries where you go much faster in renewable electricity production than in France, whether it’s offshore wind, onshore wind, or solar,” Patrier stated. She noted that France’s 2019-2023 energy planning law called for 3.7 GW of wind tenders, a target that has not been met, posing a challenge to deployment speed.

Patrier contrasted France’s approach with other countries, such as Germany, where producers can sell electricity directly to clients, helping them decarbonise. “That’s the key aspect in wind in places we are present like Scotland, Britain, offshore New York in the US, and in Asia,” she said.

Despite these challenges, Patrier emphasised that France remains a key country for TotalEnergies, which is the third-largest green electricity provider in the country, with 2 GW of installed renewable capacity out of a global total of 23 GW. TotalEnergies aims to triple its renewable electricity production to exceed 100 terawatt-hours globally by 2030.

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