France: Stronger environmental and recycling obligations for French wind farm operators

By Sibylle Weiler, Olivier Fazio

07-2020

The ministerial decree of 22 June 2020, amending the requirements applicable to wind turbines from 1 July 2020, creates new environmental and recycling obligations for wind farm’s operators.

Among the provisions contained in this decree, it is noteworthy that:

  • The formula for the calculation of the amount of the financial guarantees to be set up initially and eventually updated following a modification of the wind farm is modified by taking into account the unit power of the wind turbines (€50,000 for a 2 MW wind turbine + €10,000 per additional MW).

  • Environmental monitoring must now begin within twelve months after the wind farm’s commissioning. The monitoring must be renewed within twelve months if the previous monitoring has revealed a substantial impact requiring remedial actions. The monitoring must then be renewed at least every 10 years.

  • When the wind farm is dismantled, site restoration involves the excavation of the entire foundations, except in the case where the environmental balance is unfavorable (the objective of dismantling cannot be less than 1 meter deep). In addition, crane areas and access roads must now be excavated to a depth of 40 cm and replaced by land with characteristics comparable to neighbouring land.

  • From 1 July 2022, 90% of the total mass of the wind turbines (including 35% of the rotor mass - which concentrates the recycling difficulties) will have to be reused or recycled. These obligations are reinforced for wind turbines for which the complete authorization file is submitted after 1 January 2023. In order to comply with these recyclability obligations, the operator must be able to know precisely the material used in the components of the wind turbines.

We therefore strongly recommend clarifying this issue as from the conclusion of the respective Turbine Supply Agreement.

Our Energy Team is here to assist you for any questions you might have in this respect.