Plans to issue an international tender for the construction of 3000 MW of offshore wind capacity in France will provide a major boost to the country’s aim of having 25 GW of wind power installed by 2020.

The country’s government says it will issue tenders in April inviting bidders to propose plans to build 600 wind turbines at five sites off the country’s Atlantic coast between Saint-Nazaire and Dieppe/Le TrĂ©port.

The projects will require investments of €10 billion and are due to be grid connected by 2015. The wind industry could provide as many as 10 000 jobs for French workers, said Sarkozy.

The tender will be organised by the French energy regulator, and is likely to be followed by a second set of tenders for an additional 3 GW of offshore wind capacity.

France is aiming to develop a total of 25 GW of wind capacity by 2020, including 6 GW of offshore wind power, in order to meet its target of generating 23 per cent of electricity demand from renewable energy.

The country could become the third largest market in the EU for offshore wind power.

Vestas, Siemens, Repower and Alstom are likely to figure among the bidders, alongside developers such as EDF Energies Nouvelles and GDF Suez.