Nuclear Nation Goes Offshore (France)

Only a few weeks ago we noted a trend-bucking investment into nuclear power by France, while the rest of Europe seems poised to phase out the always-controversial energy source.

France, which gets about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, isn’t just sitting still on other energy options: the government recently announced a $14.3 billion tender offer to build 1200 offshore wind turbines to the north and west of the country.

The government will now accept bids to build wind farms in five different offshore areas, with a goal of bringing them online between 2015 and 2020. France hopes to generate 23 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020; it currently gets less than 13 percent of power from renewables.

Though France is standing by nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the country clearly sees an upside in significant diversification of its energy menu. And interestingly, so does French nuclear powerhouse company Areva: the company has partnered with Iberdrola Renewables in an effort to build some of the new offshore wind farms. Other energy company alliances have also been formed to bid on the massive wind projects.

By: Dave Levitan (ieee)

Source: ieee, July 18, 2011