A photo showing distress flares launched from the fishing boats surrounding Aeolus vessel in Bay of Saint-Brieuc

France: Aeolus Surrounded by Fishermen Protesting Against Saint-Brieuc OWF

Local fishermen have taken their protests against the construction of the French Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm from land to the offshore project site on 7 May, when 70 fishing boats surrounded the Aeolus installation vessel in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc.

To voice their opposition to the project, the fishermen have also fired distress flares while at the site, according to Ouest-France.

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Source: Préfecture maritime et commandement en chef ATLANT

The protest at the offshore project site is part of organised demonstrations against the project on both sea and land. The fishermen first gathered on Monday, 3 May, in front of the Côtes-d’Armor prefecture and announced that they would go to the offshore site on Friday around 9 a.m. with a rally on land scheduled to take place at Cape Fréhel from 10 a.m.

After their demonstration at the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm site, the fishermen will return and join the rally on land.

Maritime Prefecture and ATLANT Command-in-Chief this morning called on the fishermen to avoid any behaviour endangering people and property and reiterated that there was currently a prefectural decree in place that regulates maritime activities in the bay during construction work on the 496 MW wind farm. Fishermen were also reminded today by the authorities that that they were not allowed to come closer than 550 metres to the vessel.

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Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel Aeolus started installing the first pin piles for the project’s 62 jacket foundations on 3 May, using the port of Cherbourg as the pin pile marshalling port. 

Under a contract with Ailes Marines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spain’s Iberdrola, Van Oord is responsible for the transport and installation of 62 jacket foundations for the wind turbines, three pin piles each, and the four foundation pin piles for the offshore substation. A total of 190 pin piles will be installed at the site.

The installation campaign for the pin piles will be executed in 2021 and 2022 and the jacket foundations will be installed in 2022.

The Saint-Brieuc project was contested in several appeals at French courts and cleared its last legal hurdle in December 2020. The rejected appeal was filed by the Association for the Protection of the Sites of Erquy and Surrounding Sites (ASPE), Erquy Environnement and others, requesting the Council of State to annul the decision of the Administrative Court of Nantes from 2019 that authorised Ailes Marines to build the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm. 

The 496 MW offshore wind farm, located 16.3 kilometres off the coast of Brittany, is scheduled to become operational in 2023. Once operational, it will be able to produce enough electricity to meet the annual consumption of 835,000 households.