Floating Wind Power, An Opportunity For France

In France, EOLFI develops wind farm projects in waters which are likely to have significant economic impact, in consultation with the residents of the areas concerned.

Source : région Bretagne

To consolidate the French network of offshore wind POWER, we need to develop relatively concentrated projects in the two most favourable areas for this activity: Brittany and the Mediterranean.

A call for pilot floating wind farm projects - three to six units per project - was put out in 2015 by the French Government. In the Mediterranean, these project zones are located along the coast of Leucate and Gruissan (Occitania) and the Faraman lighthouse in the Gulf of Fos-sur-Mer (PACA Region). 

In Brittany the projects are along the coast of Ile de Groix. The names of these areas are highlighted in bold.

Beyond these pilot farms, the two maritime fronts represent untold potential for floating wind farms in general. EOLFI has already developed 3GW of projects in the Mediterranean and 1.5GW along the coast of Brittany.

An example of the benefits expected from the Mediterranean projects (3GW):

8500 jobs created and 15% of the electrical needs of the Gulf of Lion covered with renewable energy and no fossil fuels.

In terms of economic benefits:

  • 10bn€ of investment
  • 3000 direct jobs to construct and assemble the turbines
  • 5000 direct jobs to construct and assemble the floats and anchors
  • 500 direct jobs to operate and maintain the farms.

In terms of energy production:

10 TWh de production annuelle = besoins de 4 millions de foyers 

  • 10 Twh of annual production = enough to supply 4 million households 
  • 10% of the electric consumption of Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur region
  • 15% of the electric consumption of the Occitania region

Prospects in France for 2030

4500 MW installed, i.e. approx. 700 turbines located in several different project areas
15 billion euros d’investissements
15 TWh of the annual energy production, enough to meet the needs of 6,000,000 people.

Weather Focus: Wind Expert

Interview with Marion Ristord, a wind expert at EOLFI

What's your role in the floating wind turbine project?

My job is to characterise the wind conditions at the site of the forthcoming wind farm. This data allows us to estimate the farm's future production levels and gives us a good grasp of the conditions the future wind turbines will need to withstand. This highly localised data will have a direct impact on the project's results and on the cost of the electricity generated as a consequence. That means we need wind data that is as reliable and precise as possible in order to roll out a high-impact project and build an efficient wind farm.

What methods do you use to collect wind data for the floating wind farm?

There are many different ways of collecting offshore wind data: digital models are used to sketch out an initial, rough estimation of wind power in the target area, but for more precise data, we have to carry out on-site measurements over a one- to two-year period. On land, these studies are often carried out using wind measuring towers, but this technology is extremely expensive to run at sea, especially in the deep-water areas used for floating wind turbine projects.

Alternative solutions are set up: initially, a LIDAR (editor's note: a wind measurement system that uses laser beams) can be set up on the coast near the project site. Then we move on to setting up a floating, offshore LIDAR. In September 2017, EOLFI used a floating LIDAR near the floating wind turbine site of Groix and Belle-Ile as part of a one-year campaign. This buoyed system will allow us to assess wind power potential at the exact site of the future wind farm..



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