PARIS (Reuters) - France will launch a third tender for offshore wind turbines in 2015, the energy and environment ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry did not detail how much capacity the tender would offer, saying only the criteria-based selection of previous tenders would be replaced by a "competitive dialogue".
It said it would also launch a "call for expression of interest" procedure for floating offshore turbines next year.
In May, France awarded a 4 billion euro ($5 billion) tender for two offshore wind farms with combined capacity of 1,000 megawatts to a consortium led by gas and power group GDF Suez, with turbines to be manufactured by nuclear group Areva.
A first tender with combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts and total investment of 7 billion euros was awarded in 2012. Three wind farms were won by a consortium led by power utility EDF with turbines to be made by Alstom, while Spain's Iberdrola in partnership with Areva won a fourth.
France wants to have a combined offshore windpower capacity of 6,000 MW by 2020, but is behind schedule on this target, as the first consortium will not start connecting the first turbines to the grid before 2019 or 2020.
France currently does not have any offshore turbines installed, while Britain, Denmark, Germany and other European countries have built more than 2,000 with combined capacity of 7,000 MW.
Floating turbines are built for waters deeper than the roughly 50-metres-maximum depth for foundation-based turbines. No floating turbines are produced commercially, but a few prototypes have been in operation in Norway, Portugal and Japan for several years.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Crispian Balmer)