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France replacing onshore wind FITs

France has annulled its feed-in tariffs for wind power, after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling that they amount to illegal state aid.

The previous government had failed to notify the EU that the original decree subsidising onshore wind production was state aid.

The court's ruling plunged the industry into legal limbo, slowing investments sector and investments slowing down.

The French government has already prepared a new decree, due to come into force in a few days, which was cleared by the European Commission in March and will replace the decree that has been annulled.

Ségolène Royal, the French energy minister, said: “It is now safe to invest and create jobs.”

According to Jean-Louis Bal, president of the Renewable Energy Association the decision "marks the end of a long process that generated uncertainty and anxiety, unsettling investors and explaining the slowdown in the number of wind farms installed in 2011” .

"After six years of procedure, this new economic framework, which is highly anticipated by all players in the wind sector, will finally give them a secure legal footing necessary to carry on their projects," he adds.

The ECJ decision is retroactive, but existing wind farm owners will not have to reimburse the aid received under the now-illegal decree.

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