Renewable energy: how the administration missed the allocation of nearly a gigawatt of wind turbines
The image that comes to mind for Mattias Vandenbulcke, Director of Strategy for France Wind Energy (FEE), is that of “the house that drives you crazy”in the cartoon of Twelve Labors of Asterixbroadcast in 1976, where the Gallic hero, accompanied by Obélix, both went in search of the “A38 pass”gets lost in the offices, floors, circulars and forms of the Roman bureaucracy.
The metaphor speaks of the incomprehension and exasperation of renewable energy players after the confirmation by the Ministry of Energy Transition of a major failure during the last call for tenders for onshore wind turbines: the State was to award, at the end of March , the equivalent of 925 megawatts to electricity producers, it provided only 54, or less than 6%. A result deemed catastrophic by the sector.
According to our information, the same scenario should be reproduced, in a few days, with the call for tenders on solar energy where 925 megawatts, supposed to be put into service within three years, are also at stake. Powers not negligible on the scale of France: in 2022, new installations of wind turbines and solar panels represented 1,900 and 2,600 megawatts respectively.
After a winter when France was close to power cuts and had to import energy massively, in a context of high prices, a few weeks after the adoption of a law to accelerate renewable energies, the double failure stain.
The main reason ? A sibylline modification in the drafting of the specifications of the calls for tenders leading to the invalidation, from the outset, of three-quarters of the sixty files of onshore wind farms, failing to meet a criterion demanded by the administration. “The outcome of this call for tenders is unacceptable”recognizes the entourage of the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher. “We are coming out of a big parliamentary sequence on acceleration and, wham, we have almost 1 gigawatt shifted in time. It is dramatic in volume, as a signal sent and as time wasted.denounces Mattias Vandenbulcke, on behalf of France wind energy.
To promote the development of renewables, the State has in fact set up a secure financing mechanism for electricity production. This involves regular calls for tenders, which make it possible to guarantee a price for twenty years. Advantage for the promoters: reduce the risks, since the recipe is guaranteed as soon as the wind turbines are in operation. Advantage for the State: when the price on the market exceeds this tariff, the profit fills the coffers of public finances, i.e. more than 30 billion euros for 2022 and 2023.
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