Mar 29, 2023
French Watchdog Recommends Loosening EDF’s Grip on Offshore Wind
(Bloomberg) -- France’s energy regulator proposed modifying government tenders for offshore wind projects to loosen Electricite de France SA’s domination of the key renewable industry.
The state-controlled utility and its Canadian partner Enbridge Inc. have won five of the eight commercial wind farms auctioned over the past decade, including the latest this week. That’s concentrating risks tied to offshore wind parks, which are higher than in other industries, the Commission de Regulation de l’Energie said in its assessment of the latest tender published Tuesday.
“For that reason, and for competition reasons, CRE considers that this situation is very unsatisfactory,” the French energy regulator wrote. It expressed regrets that some major European offshore wind farm developers didn’t participate in the last French auction.
President Emmanuel Macron has said the country should have about 50 wind farms at sea by 2050, making them a significant contributor to the nation’s plan to become carbon neutral by the middle of the century. However, France is lagging behind neighbors such as the UK, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, with just one commercial-scale wind park in operation, and three others under construction.
To boost competition and benefit more from French and European financial resources and wind industry expertise, the country should standardize its tender processes and scale them up, provide a schedule for its auctions over the next 10 years, and improve the sharing of wind farm operating data, the regulator said.
It also recommended ensuring no bidder can sweep upcoming tenders that involve several wind parks. That could apply to next year’s auctions for two floating wind farms to be built in the Mediterranean sea, assuming it’s legally possible, the watchdog said.
EDF, Enbridge and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board earlier this week won the right to build France’s largest offshore wind farm by offering to supply power from the planned facility at €44.9 per megawatts-hours, according to the regulator. Four other groups that bid for the planned facility included TotalEnergies SE in partnership with RWE AG, Vattenfall AB, Iberdrola SA, and a joint venture of Engie SA and EDP Renovaveis SA.
Read more: EDF-Led Team Wins Tender for France’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm
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