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 Romain Girault, wind expert at EOLFI

What role do you play in the floating wind power projects?

My role is to figure out the main characteristics of one of the most important factors of a wind farm: the wind, so we can estimate future production. In fact this local level data directly influences the productivity of a project and consequently has an effect of the cost of the electricity produced. So we require the most precise wind data possible to develop a relevant project and build an efficient wind farm. 

How do you work out the characteristics of the wind for a floating wind power project?

There are different methods for collecting wind data in a specific area at sea: using digital models can give you a quick estimate as to the wind power potential in an area of interest, but to access more precise data we need to take measurements on-site for one to two years. On land, these projects are often carried out using wind measuring towers, but these are very difficult to use at sea, even more so in relatively deep areas like those used for floating wind turbines. Alternative solutions are used: as a first step we might install a light radar (A way of measuring wind using a laser beam) on the coast, near the project area. In July 2015 EOLFI started measuring the wind for the Corallium 66 project by installing a light radar (LIDAR) in Bacarès, near the “Leucate” area, which we had been studying since 2013. The next step, which is more expensive, but more accurate, is to install a buoy with a light radar on it to estimate the wind power and the exact location of a future farm.



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Contact EOLFI

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