France plans to launch a tender to build turbines for the country's third offshore wind farm, Energy Minister Segolene Royal said in a statement on Monday.
The wind farm is to be off the northern harbour town of Dunkerque, Royal said without specifying the size of the tender nor when bidding would close.
France, unlike Britain, Germany and Denmark, does not yet have any offshore wind turbines installed. But it has already awarded two other tenders for offshore wind farms.
Royal said the new tender would include a new procedure of "competitive dialogue" with the bidders to fine tune bidding requirements and to give bidders the chance to improve their bids during the process.
She also said that studies of wind, wave and soil conditions would be done by public authorities before bidders have to make final bids. The government will also simplify procedures for building permits for the tender.
France awarded a first offshore wind tender for 2,000 megawatts of capacity in 2012, representing investment of about 7 billion euros ($8 billion).
A consortium of EDF and Alstom won three of the four sites, at Fecamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer (Normandy) and Saint-Nazaire (Loire). Spain's Iberdrola, in partnership with nuclear group Areva, won the fourth site at Saint-Brieuc (Brittany).
A second tender awarded 1,000 MW, for investment of 4 billion euros to a consortium led by French gas and power group Engie in 2014.
The Engie consortium included Portugal's EDP Renovaveis, France's Neoen Marine and Areva and will build 500 MW off the town of Le Treport in northern Normandy and 500 MW off the islands of Noirmoutier and Yeu on the Vendee coast.
($1 = 0.8800 euros)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman)