France Goes Offshore: Huge Wind Investment in World's Nuclear Capital

Almost $15 billion pledged for offshore wind farms

1 min read
France Goes Offshore: Huge Wind Investment in World's Nuclear Capital

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.

(Image via rodonnelly)

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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