France cranks up wind power

New wind turbines are being installed in the centre of France that will provide power to approximately 50,000 homes. French power generation giant Alstom is building the Le Mée wind […]

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By Tom Gibson

New wind turbines are being installed in the centre of France that will provide power to approximately 50,000 homes.

French power generation giant Alstom is building the Le Mée wind farm with Portuguese firm EDP Renewables, the world’s third largest wind energy company.

The wind farm is the third to be commissioned in less than a year in central France. The 18MW farm consists of 3MW ECO 100 wind turbines. Two other ECO 100 farms have been built by Alstom, with a fourth under construction. By the end of the year, Alstom will have built 27 wind farms, providing more than 80MW, the equivalent of powering a city the size of Orléans.

The plans are part of the French government’s aim to generate 23% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. By 2009, French onshore capacity had reached 4.5 GW and the French wind market is now ranked seventh in the world.

The news comes less than a week after Alstom joined forces with BrightSource Energy to provide solar thermal power plants based around the Mediterranean. Alstom invested $55m into BrightSource Energy in May.

Alstom Power president Philippe Joubert said: “This partnership is a further step in Alstom’s commitment to solar thermal power, alongside its strong renewable power portfolio in hydro and wind power..”

Globally, Alstom has installed or is installing more than 2,080 wind turbines in more than 110 wind farms, a total capacity of more than 2680 MW. The group announced in September an order worth over €200m with Scottish Power to build a 217 MW extension to the Whitelee wind farm in Scotland.