The general prescriptions concerning operation of wind farms in France have been completely revised since the beginning of the year 2020. The new “Ministerial Decree” [1] has been published in the “Journal Officiel (JO)” on the 30/06/2020, to be applied from the 01/07/2020. These new “ICPE” rules could impact your wind assets already in operation for several years. Here is a synthesis of the main changes induced by this new regulation.

The article is focused on the changes of the sections 4, 5 and 6 of the former Decree published on the 26/08/2011 (ICPE-A) [2], concerning the authorization application for wind farms equipped with wind turbines, where the tower height exceeds 50m. These sections concern the operational period of the wind farm.

It is important to note that the new Decree introduced the definition of “Existing installation”. A wind farm is considered as “existing” if it has been commissioned before the 13/07/2011, or the Building Permit has been accepted and/or the Public Queries has been open before this date.

The prescriptions of this new Regulation are also applicable to the “Existing” wind farms (commissioning date before the 13/07/2011).

For instance, one of the most important changes concerns the Avifauna and Bats mortality follow-up. The study must now start 12 months after the commissioning date. If significant impacts are revealed, the study must be repeated within the next 12 months. Previously, only one study should be led within the first three years of operation. The financial impact of this new prescription could not be negligible.

Other important changes concern the dismantling and the financial warranty to ensure the recycling. Dedicated sections have been added in the new decree. A provision of 50 k€ for wind turbines with a capacity below 2 MW and a complement of 10 k€/MW for wind turbines with a capacity above 2 MW must be provisioned by the SPV. This amount must be also indexed every 5 years according to a specific formula indicated in the decree. In parallel, the wind farms owners will be obliged to recycle at least 95% of the total weight of the turbine including foundations, from the 01/01/2024, and 55% of the rotor blades, from the 01/01/2025.

Greensolver, as a Technical Manager, can bring you all the necessary support to assess the impact on your wind asset.

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By David ROISSE, Asset Manager Team Leader France