France Trails on Wind Energy Amid Bureaucracy, Costs, Lobby Says

France missed annual goals for wind energy development for a second year amid bureaucratic hurdles, the cost of installation and local opposition, a lobby said.

About 650 megawatts to 750 megawatts of wind capacity were installed last year, about half of the 1,300 megawatts targeted, according to a presentation by the France Energie Eolienne industry group today. The outcome is as much as a 20 percent drop from 2011, which itself was down almost a quarter.

France plans to get 23 percent of its energy consumption from renewables by 2020. President Francois Hollande has said electricity from wind and sun offer “huge potential” for clean energy and job creation and pledged to ease development hurdles.

The country gets on average 3 percent of its power output from wind turbines a year compared with more than 75 percent from nuclear reactors, the industry lobby said.

France had about 6,800 megawatts of installed wind capacity at the end of 2011 compared with 29,000 megawatts in Germany and more than 21,600 megawatts in Spain, according to the latest statistics available from the European Wind Energy Association.

The government began a debate on energy after Hollande pledged to lower the country’s reliance on atomic energy.

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