In a rebuff to French anti-wind energy activists, the French government has re-instituted feed-in tariffs for wind energy. The tariffs for new projects were suspended following an EU decision on the way the funds for the French tariffs were collected. The tariffs, differentiated by wind resource intensity, are the same as before.
The French wind tariffs were first implemented in 2001 and have been modified since then. Both the German and French system of feed-in tariffs for wind energy vary the tariff by wind resource intensity. However, the two countries use a different approach. The Germans use a “reference yield” approach while the French use a specific capacity approach.
In the original French system, all projects were paid the same price for the first five years. In the more recent system, all projects are paid the same price for the first 10 years. After the first period, the productivity of the site and the turbines are weighed and for projects with a higher productivity the tariffs are reduced–in some cases dramatically.
As a result, the French tariffs are confusing to most journalists, including business and energy industry journalists. For example, they will say that the French wind tariffs are €0.082/kWh ($0.111 USD/kWh). However, that is only partly true. It is true for the first 10 years only. After that the tariff can drop to as low as €0.028/kWh ($0.038 USD/kWh). The weighted average, accounting for inflation, is something much less than the initial tariff.
The “average” French wind tariffs are substantially less than the proposed tariffs for Britain’s new nuclear reactors which will be built by the French and the Chinese.