Photo: Flickr, CC
Harvesting the Wind
The French government of Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a €10 billion ($14.26 billion) tender to build about 1,200 wind turbines in 5 different offshore wind farms. The goal is to diversify France's energy generation (they are very reliant on nuclear, which accounts for about 80% of their electricity generation) with renewable sources and to have 23% of France's energy come from renewable sources by 2020. The wind farms will be located off France's coast on the North and West and should produce about 3.5% of the country's electricity according to government authorities. The farms should come online between 2015-2020.
Photo: Flickr, CC
following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, and with the 2012 presidential elections looming, political support for the energy source is beginning to waver. France's historically pro-nuclear Socialist Party is negotiating an electoral alliance with the country's green party, Europe Ecologie, which has campaigned to completely exit nuclear energy.
The wind-farm project not only soothes voter concerns but also could help spur the creation of a French national champion in wind energy, analysts said. Compared with its neighbor Germany, France has been slow off the mark in rolling out renewable energy, which currently accounts for 12.4% of its energy output, compared with Germany's 16.9%. (source)
10,000 jobs are expected to be created by this project. And if a new wind power industry takes root, many of these could be long-term.
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