Le Havre & Dieppe: Windfall for Northern France

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The two Northern French ports of Le Havre and Dieppe are in line for an industry injection that can bring new 21 st century technology into their traditional maritime economies. Offshore wind energy is about to arrive on their doorsteps, bringing with it the complete supply chain for manufacturing, installation, operation and maintenance. Within the next 5 years the two ports should be able to compete with the best of the rest, and benefit from this new local industry. 

Le Havre

The Great Port of Le Havre (GPMH) appears not only to have a large advantage with a good location for the first round of French wind farms but it also has the infrastructure and space available for giving the port the same potential in the English Channel that Bremerhaven has in the North Sea. Within a 200km radius it has up to 1750MW of planned generating capacity in 3 sites on the French side, Le Treport near Dieppe, Fecamp to the North east, and Courseulles sur Mer to the South West. To the North within this radius on the English coast there is 1550MW in 2 sites, Eneco’s Navitus Bay Wind Park off the Isle of Wight and the E.ON Climate Renewables’ Hastings Wind Farm.

The port authorities are very keen to attract a major turbine manufacturer, an obvious candidate being the French Areva who have already announced in September 2011 of their intentions. Attracting other manufacturers such as for blades, foundations and towers will, or at least should, therefore fall in like domino’s.

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Le Havre has a 40 hectares site and a quay side length of 900m available for development. Although this area is on the landward side of the lock gates the WTIV’s should have no problem as the gates are large enough for large container ships.

There is another possibility to attract industry from the renewable sector. The port authorities have developed a star feature for the area…The Eco Wind Park, 50 hectares with a purpose built heavy lift dock area with at least 4m water depth. The area has space for test facilities for turbine manufacturers.

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While Le Havre is looking for establishing turbine factories and testing facilities, the port of Dieppe, just over 100km North East of Le Havre, is looking at the O&M side of the industry.

This port has the facilities for the fast turn around of the wind farm support vessels, and space enough in both the outer and inner harbour with easy access for future operation and maintenance bases. Provision for personnel training and equipment testing facilities are also available for offshore wind related companies.

It is not envisaged that the port will have to wait for the wind farms to be in operation before Dieppe can claim to be an Offshore Wind port. Vessels working on wind farms elsewhere are already calling at this port.

Recently the Windcat 101 was lifted out of the water for maintenance in Dieppe. The Windcat 101, able to carry up to 45 passengers, is one of the larger support vessels being used in the industry. Windcat Workboats were pleased with the facilities and the work in Dieppe.

The two ports, Le Havre and Dieppe, will be able to compliment each other well in the future and both are looking towards a bright future in the industry.

Dick Hill