France to auction 10 existing hydropower concessions by 2015

French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo announced the government will call for bids between 2010 and 2013 to renew concessions for 10 hydropower projects totaling 5,300 MW.

The concessions are in the Alps, including the Drac Valley (HydroWorld 1/20/09), 660-MW Beaufortain chain, and 720-MW Bissorte pump station; the Pyrenees, including the Ossau, Louron, and Tet valleys; and the Massif Central region, including the Dordogne and Truyere valleys. The projects are to be awarded between 2013 and 2015.

Most of France’s hydropower concessions have been operated historically by Electricite de France (EDF), with a few operated by GDF Suez. The European Union has called on France to make the award of hydropower concessions more competitive. (HydroWorld 6/10/08) In 2007, Force Hydraulique de Severaisse won concessions, in competition with EDF, to operate three former EDF hydroelectric projects. (HydroWorld 7/9/07)

France’s Direction Generale de l’Energie et du Climat said concessions will be awarded only to bidders who have demonstrated technical and financial capacity to operate hydropower safely. Awards are to be based on: commitments to modernize or add to existing generating equipment; assurances to protect the environment and integrate the power projects with other water uses such as irrigation or recreation; and payment of a royalty to be divided by national and territorial governments.

The agency outlined the plan in a statement on its Internet site under www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Renouvellement-de-10-concessions.html. For information, contact Ministere de l’Ecologie, de l’Energie, du Developpement Durable et de la Mer, Direction Generale de l’Energie, et du Climat, Arche Nord, 92055 La Defense Cedex, Paris, France; (33) 1-40812122; Internet: www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr.

For more hydropower tenders, click here.

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