In France, wind power represented the fourth energy source for electricity with 34 TWh generated in 2019, placing France among the most important producers in Europe. Overall, the wind industry has experienced the same rise as global renewable energy production, with a constant growth. Indeed, France’s wind energy production capacity has been multiplied by five between 2008 and 2019, from 3,403 megawatts up to more than 16,000 megawatts.
There are significant geographic disparities in wind electricity production in France. Two regions were producing almost half of national production in 2019. Hauts-de-France and the Great Eastern region connected 4.5 GW and 3.6 GW to the French electric grid, respectively.
Wind power installations can function both onshore and offshore. The French onshore wind energy capacity has been estimated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to be 13,111 MW in 2017. The offshore wind power capacity amounted to only 2 MW.
The wind farm constructor market is the territory of multinational companies. Vestas Wind Systems, the Danish leader in wind turbine manufacturing, owned an installed wind capacity of 4.5 GW in France.
The wind farm operator market is, however, dominated by French companies. Engie Group (and the Companie Nationale du Rhône) and EDF Energies Nouvelles generated 2.2 and 1.5 GW respectively. Specialized companies such as Boralex also owned a share of the market (925 MW).
The growing wind industry is a formidable job generator. In 2018, the sector employed 18,400 persons, around a quarter of them working in the Greater Paris. As wind power involves technical knowledge and managing certain types of equipment, it is conclusive that around 5,400 jobs were dedicated to studies in development. Among them, 2,000 were engineers and experts.