Reader Question: Is there a website where we can see planned wind turbine projects in France?
The first thing to note is that, depending on your location, you are unlikely to find a wind turbine project planned for nearby.
For example, in the whole of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region there are only seven wind turbine parks, all located close to the area of the Camargue.
There are, however, 450 in Hauts-de-France.
Wind turbines are naturally located in places with higher wind levels, meaning large parts of the country contain very few parks. Over 60% of wind turbines in France are concentrated in Hauts-de-France, Grand Est and Occitanie.
There are currently 8,000 land-based wind turbines across almost 2,000 parks in France.
In terms of finding out where turbines exist, there are a number of free resources that can be used to locate current, former, planned and proposed projects.
The most useful ones for you will depend on your reason for requiring the information as the maps give varying levels of technical detail.
For example, the uMap shows details relating to the productive power of a turbine park and the number of turbines, at communal level, though as it is an open source document that anyone can edit so its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
The Wind Power map, meanwhile, is handy as it allows you to zoom in and out easily (press control+use the mouse wheel) so as to see the concentration of turbines across the territory at different levels.
It is made by a French business specialised in wind power data and also includes planned and proposed turbines although some locations are only approximate.
Generally however, this is a good resource to search for information about a local area you are interested in.
A focus on offshore turbines
The government’s ecological transition website has a section dedicated to current sea-based wind turbine projects but this does not cover any land-based projects.
For land-based installations, a number of rules are required for installations, most notably that they must be further than 500m away from residential areas, alongside restrictions relating to noise pollution and proximity to military bases and aviation lanes.
Since August 2021, the installation of any land-based turbine is also dependent upon a public consultation in the commune where the project is proposed.
New land-based projects are therefore rare and much more attention is being given to offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
French wind turbine blades to get a second life as car body panels
MPs in France say wind turbines must not add to ‘visual saturation’