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France: New "Feed-in-Premium" model for small scale onshore wind power projects in France

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After a long awaited green light from the European commission, a Ministerial Order published on 14 December 2016, specifies the conditions under which onshore wind projects can benefit from the 2016 Feed-in-Premium (FiP) in France.

Up until 2015, wind projects were supported by the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme. The FiP system is intended to operate as a transitionional support mechanism before wind is able to operate without any Government support. Under the 2016 FiP scheme, the electricity will be sold at the prevailing market price whilst at the same time the generator will receive a regulated bonus which is aligned to the remuneration received under the previous FiT level (i.e. 82 €/MWh).

For projects to be launched in 2017, the new order is yet to be published but according to the draft order, the reference tariff is 72 €/MWh. The FiP will only to projects with 6 masts or less. Larger wind projects will be selected on the basis of a governmental call for tender.

The 2016 FiB Ministerial order is welcome by professionals as it should put an end to the legal uncertainty affecting the projects launched in 2016 (under the previous June 2014 FiT) in relation to a lack of notification of a state aid to the European Commission. In this respect, French authorities (DGEC) have recommended that FiT power purchase applications made in 2016 should convert into FiP applications before 31 December 2016

The new FiP schemes for methane gas projects under 500 kW, hydro projects under 1 MW and geothermal projects were also published on 13 December.