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Onshore wind power: when a state agency (Ademe) opposes the brake put by the government

Onshore wind power: when a state agency (Ademe) opposes the brake put by the government
Written by madishthestylebar

At a time of structuring choices for the country’s energy future, several visions clash in this area…including within the State apparatus. And for good reason, while the new Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, confirmed at the end of May the government’s desire to curb onshore wind turbines in favor of their counterparts at sea, Ademe, placed among others under its guardianship, clings to the ambition of a massive deployment of giant blades on the territory.

Because their ” technical potential ” rest ” largely underexploited “, argues the agency in an opinion issued Wednesday, May 1. In other words, while France is already lagging behind on its objectives, the executive must not rely on the multi-annual energy program (PPE) adopted in 2019, which provides for a doubling of the current rate of implementation of land parks by 2028, defends Ademe tooth and nail. ” The course is clear “, we are assured in its ranks: “ we must continue the penetration of renewable energies, which will become the main source of energy “.

A very low impact on the value of real estate

Determined to reassure an increasingly cautious government, Ademe has thus armed itself with solid arguments. Among which is a report on the costs of means of energy production in France, also published on Wednesday, which concludes that ” for new electricity generation facilities, all technologies combined, onshore wind power in France has among the lowest full production costs “. Above all, by 2030, these should reach ” around 32 to 58 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) “Only, when those that offshore wind remain uncertain to say the least, notes Ademe.

And that’s not all: in order to cut short a recurring argument in the public debate, it also presented an unprecedented study on the effect of wind farms on the price of surrounding real estate. Result: while a collective of anti-wind turbine associations, the Sustainable Environment Federation, had calculated in 2019 the loss of value at a minimum of 20% on average, Ademe concludes that it has a minimal impact, of the order of – 1.5% per square meter within a radius of 5 kilometers around a wind turbine…” and no one beyond “. Either an influence of the same order as that of other critical infrastructures “, such as electricity pylons, relay antennas, thermal power stations or even incinerators and other landfills, underlines the agency.

Carried out by the consulting firm IAC Partners and the network of real estate agencies Izzimo, the study is based in particular on real estate sales data between 2015 and 2020, including more than 1.5 million transactions of single-family homes. ” In order to isolate the impact of wind power from other factors influencing prices, these figures were compared with control groups. “, we say to Ademe.

Still, the conclusions must be observed taking into account the margins of error of real estate estimates, which vary by more or less 10% on a market that is not very active such as the market in rural areas. In addition, for certain specific cases, in particular exceptional properties (castle, mansion, etc.) or those very close to the parks (less than 1 km), the discount would vary between 5 and 20%, according to the testimonies collected from real estate professionals. Of the ” orders of magnitude “unsubstantiated” by quantitative elements “, however nuance the Ademe.

By way of comparison, house transactions priced above 700,000 euros represent 1% of house transactions in mainland France between 2015 and 2020. “says the report.

Local resistances

Nevertheless, strong local resistance continues to slow down several projects, particularly in the north of France. Evidenced by the recent decision of the Hauts-de-France Region, led by the notorious anti-wind energy Xavier Bertrand, to subsidize up to 170,000 euros associations opposed to the establishment of new parks – a campaign promise made in March 2021 by the politician for his re-election as head of the Region.

Aware of these oppositions, Ademe for its part defends a ” better distribution of projects on the territory “. And bet on their appropriation by citizens, via the consultation during assembly », « environmental and landscape integration” and “participatory investment “. But his plea risks having the effect of a sword in the water, as the government now seems determined to backtrack.