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France Crafts Offshore Wind Expansion to Meet Climate Goals

France has revealed an ambitious strategy to amplify its offshore wind capacity, signaling a determined effort to make as much progress as neighboring nations in meeting climate objectives.

In an announcement during a visit to Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire unveiled a comprehensive plan encompassing tenders and incentives aimed at increasing its offshore wind capacity sixfold by 2035. This ambitious endeavor comes as a response to the wind industry's recent struggles with escalating costs and supply-chain bottlenecks.

"We are committed to expediting deployment. The expansion of offshore wind farms is pivotal not only for enhancing energy competitiveness but also for bolstering our energy independence," Le Maire said on Thursday.

France, which is behind Germany and the UK in terms of offshore wind capacity at just 3 GW, aims to achieve a total of 18 GW by 2035 and 45 GW by 2050, which would be sufficient to power 20% of its domestic electricity demand.

To facilitate the expansion, the government intends to streamline regulatory processes delaying grid connections and expedite proceedings for future tenders. Emphasizing the promotion of domestic interests, Le Maire hailed a $4.8 billion contract inked to construct three offshore substations at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, underscoring the pivotal role of French equipment in safeguarding national interests.

In contrast to Europe, offshore wind development costs in the United States remain markedly higher, as recently revealed by RWE AG CEO Markus Krebber at the CERAWeek conference. Krebber highlighted the industry's complexity in the United States, citing inflation and supply chain disruptions as prevalent challenges. RWE has projects both in Germany and in the United States.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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