France rallies round floating wind

World’s largest sector event, in Montpellier, supported by four coastal regional governments for first time

The world’s largest floating wind power conference, FOWT, will this year be supported by four of France’s coastal regions, as Brittany joins Occitanie, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, which have all previously backed the event.

The move, which will see the Brittany-based FWP conference discontinued, reflects a consolidation in the French sector towards organising itself “as one” for the fast-emerging domestic and international floating wind markets.

“The involvement of the four regions in this new iteration [of FOWT] reflects the wish to evolve in 2020 to a single international offshore wind turbine event on French territory,” the regions said in a statement.

“Also, the regions are among the main contributors to the development of the [French floating wind power] sector through their investments in infrastructure and their support for industrial ecosystems. This will be a determining role [in the future of the sector].”

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FOWT, which last year was attended by over 900 industry delegates, is co-organised by Pôle Mer Méditerranée, the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the French wind power association FEE.

On the eve of FOWT, Recharge holds its annual Floating Wind Power Player of the Year award, polling for which will again soon be running online.

Despite a leadership position in floating wind, with a first demonstrator in the water, France has fallen behind on ambitions to move the sector to a first commercial tender in 2018.

Targets in the government’s most recent ten-year energy plan for floating wind build-out were called “minimal” by industry body FEE, with the sector lobbying for 5GW to be built in France by 2030, a much higher capacity than the maximum 1.25GW suggested to be tendered off by 2024 in the government draft.

Last month the European Commission rubber-stamped plans to support four floating wind demonstration projects in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

  • Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus will again act as convener for the event, being held in Montpellier from 24-26 April

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