France Opens Bidding For Offshore Wind

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Seeking to obtain nearly a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 – and lessen its dependence on nuclear power – the French government opened a $14 billion bidding program to build five offshore wind farms.

The government opened the first round of bidding for the five zones, which will have a maximum capacity of 3 GW of offshore wind power. This first phase of bidding will support more than 10,000 jobs, said Eric Besson, energy minister, in a statement.Â

France gets 38% of its energy from nuclear plants and is seeking to boost the share that comes from renewable resources. Energy companies including GDF Suez SA and Vinci SA as well as nuclear plant builder Areva SA already have said they would work on the offshore projects.Â

France plans to install 6,000 MW of offshore wind power, or about 1,200 wind turbines, by 2020. France's offshore wind industry is at the earliest stages and is now seeking to build up a corresponding supply-chain industry.
It will open a second round of bidding in April 2012.

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