At Sea Tech Week in Brest yesterday, an agreement between the Brittany Region and DCNS was signed by the Brittany Regional Council President Pierrick Massiot and DCNS Director for Marine Energy Frédéric Le Lidec.
The purpose of this agreement is to speed up development of the floating offshore wind turbine plant in Brittany and to be ready to respond to the French Government’s call for expressions of interest in 2015.
The floating offshore wind project involves installing wind turbines in deepwater offshore environments where the wind is stronger than in coastal locations. Brittany is the French region with the best potential for roll-out of this technology which holds much promise in terms of industrial development.
The Brittany Region is a major marine renewable energy stakeholder. For a number of years, the body has worked with central government, local authorities and the fisheries department to identify a site capable of hosting the first pilot wind farm of several floating turbines off the island of Groix. This collaborative work was supervised by the Regional marine and coastal conference (CRML), and in 2013 an area with all the characteristics required to develop the farm was identified.
Today, the Brittany Region is supporting DCNS to conduct environmental characterisation surveys for the site. These surveys are in preparation for the call for expressions of interest (CEI/AMI) announced for floating pilot wind farms by the French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal in April 2014. This call for expressions of interest is expected in the first half of 2015 and will enable the Groix site to host an initial farm of several grid-ready floating turbines by 2018. Brittany will therefore feature a pilot site that can be used to validate the business model for floating wind farms before moving to the industrial phase and roll-out of farms on a larger scale.
The surveys to be conducted by the Brittany Region and DCNS off the island of Groix will serve to improve knowledge of the resource and the potential difficulties to be considered. The Brittany Region and DCNS are now strengthening their cooperation begun several years ago to develop an industrial floating wind turbine sector.
DCNS championed development of this technology very early on and identified Brittany’s potential for installation of an initial pilot farm. The Group wishes to contribute to the development of the Groix site to stand it in good stead for the upcoming CEI/AMI. DCNS is working with Alstom on an innovative 6 MW floating wind turbine project with the aim of setting up an initial pilot farm including several units based on this technology in 2018.
Pierrick Massiot, President of the Brittany Regional Council said:
“This is a new step forward and one that will help position Brittany as a region tailored to marine energy. Our partnership with DCNS confirms the fact that the Regional marine and coastal conference is the appropriate authority for coordinating efficient cooperation initiatives. The Groix site is the first step, and by 2018 the Port of Brest will be ready to welcome this new sector which will create jobs and value for the local area. Brittany will be ready for the energy transition”.
Frédéric Le Lidec, Director for Marine Energy at DCNS had this to say:
“The Groix site offers conditions representative of the Atlantic market and provides a unique opportunity to set up an initial pilot floating wind turbine farm”.