Onshore wind power
Wind power has seen strong development for some years now both in France and abroad. Renewable, mature and competitive, this energy of the future has a major role to play in responding to the present and future climate challenges. The development of onshore wind power is one of ENGIE priorities, which is now the largest wind power producer in France and Belgium and an international leader with 3,668 MW installed throughout the world.
What is onshore wind power ?
A wind power plant is a device that converts the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy, which is then turned into electricity. The wind power plant therefore uses wind speed to produce renewable energy with very low greenhouse gas emissions or waste. Onshore wind power plants are installed on land, unlike offshore plants, which are in the sea.
The electric power produced by a wind plant varies according to three essential parameters: the shape and length of the blades, the speed of the wind and the temperature which modifies the density of the air. Wind power plants must respect European standards of design and construction. In particular, since 2008 they have been subject to technical inspection.
What are the benefits of onshore wind power ?
Onshore wind power has the advantage of being limitless, clean and economically favourable. It is an inexhaustible resource (wind itself being indeed an endless resource), available locally, variable, yet predictable (there are generally more and stronger winds in winter when demand for electricity is higher).
Wind power does not produce greenhouse gases. By 2020, it is estimated that it will have enabled emissions to be reduced by approximately 16 million tonnes.
Wind power constitutes competitive energy at limited cost to the end consumer. Since 1993, we have seen rapid growth (40%) in the manufacture of wind power plants. This market, destined to grow at 20% per year over coming years, has already created more than 80,000 jobs in Europe.
ENGIE, leader in onshore wind power in France and Belgium
ENGIE, the major player in wind power in France, passed the 1,200 MW mark of functioning wind power in 2012. The Group, which has total expertise over the whole sector, aims to reach 2,000 MW by 2017.
In Belgium, Electrabel, a subsidiary 100% owned by ENGIE, contributed to the development of 26 wind farms. The Belgian company has set itself the goal of having the means to produce renewable energy capable of supplying one million homes by 2015. In 2012, Electrabel produced 2.19 TWh of green energy, that is, the equivalent of the consumption of 625,000 families.
Since 2010, ENGIE has had a Centre for the Management of Renewable Energies at Châlons-en-Champagne to guide the wind power installations of the Group in France and Europe.