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France’s First Offshore Wind Farm is Completed off Brittany

France's first offshore wind farm
France's first offshore wind farm was completed and is now generating full power (Enbridge)

Published Nov 23, 2022 2:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

France's first commercial-scale offshore wind project, the 480 megawatt Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm, is now fully operational. Under development for nearly a decade, the wind farm is credited with contributing to the development of the offshore wind power industry in France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has emphasized the importance his government places on wind energy as part of France’s long-term strategy. By 2030 the goal is for France to generate a third of its energy from wind power. Macron has promised to cut the bureaucracy required in the development of wind projects to speed their deployment. France is also supporting the development of new wind technologies, including one of the first to explore floating wind turbines.

The Saint-Nazaire wind farm is located between approximately 7 and 12 miles from the southwest coast of France near Brittany. The project was developed in a partnership that includes EDF Renewables and EIH S.à.r.l, a subsidiary of Enbridge, and CPP Investments. French shipyard and infrastructure builder Chantiers de l'Atlantique worked with General Electric Renewable Energy for the construction of the nacelles, the electrical substation, and the structures for the wind farm.

"Enbridge is excited about the arrival of the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in France, the Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm, and about our role as a leader of the global energy transition,” said Matthew Akman, Senior Vice President, Power, Strategy and New Energy Technology for Enbridge. “We're advancing several renewable energy projects in Europe and North America, and we are proud to have met this achievement ahead of schedule."

First power at the French site was generated in June 2022 and they continued to phase in additional nacelles. Now that the wind farm has reached full power, it will produce the equivalent of 20 percent of the Loire-Atlantique's annual electricity consumption and supply the equivalent of the consumption of 700,000 people with electricity every year. About one hundred people will continue to be employed at the site to help ensure the operation and maintenance of the wind farm.

This first wind farm is part of the EDF Group's strategy to double its net capacity of global renewable energy to reach 60 GW in 2030. The company is also participating in France’s National Low-Carbon Strategy, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through energy conservation, nuclear power, and the acceleration of renewables.

Last year, the companies started construction on a third French wind farm, the 448 MW Calvados offshore wind project located in the Normandy region and expected to reach operation in 2024. The project will use 64 Siemens Gamesa 7 MW offshore wind turbines and will be located between 6 and 11 miles off the coast of northwest France. Recently, onshore construction also began for the 24 MW Provence Grand Large Floating Offshore Wind project, which is due to deploy in 2023 as France’s first floating wind farm. It will be located about 10 miles offshore near Marseille in the south of France at a water depth of over 300 feet.