“Moulins du mervent”: in the running for France's first commercial floating wind turbine tender
A consortium consisting of Shell with EOLFI EnBW with Valeco and Banque des Territoires has been pre-selected by the Commission de Régulation de l'Energie (CRE) on 15 September 2021 to respond to the call for tender for floating wind farm in the south of Brittany (A05).
This pre-qualification has made it possible to launch the "Moulins du mervent" project (Melinou ar mervent in breton) by the consortium. The aim is to propose a floating wind farm with a power of 250MW, adapted to the territory where south-west winds, known as the Mervent, blow offshore from Lorient.
 EOLFI is a member of the Shell Group at 100% since its acquisition in 2019
Recognized technical and financial expertise
The consortium offers a unique level of combined technological skill and experience. Through Shell and EnBW, the consortium has all the competencies needed to successfully deploy a floating wind turbine project: both in terms of floating structures and large-scale offshore wind farms. Shell has 60 years of experience in the maritime sector and 20 years of experience in offshore wind and has a portfolio of projects of around 6 GW (in production and in development). EnBW is one of the largest energy producers and suppliers in Germany and Europe with several wind farms installed in the Baltic and North Seas as well as recently won tenders in Germany and the UK.
Banque des Territoires, already a shareholder in two floating offshore wind turbine pilot farms and two commercial wind farms currently under development off the coast of France, will bring its experience to this new project as a general interest investor in the development of major offshore energy infrastructures.
Proven knowledge of the field and development skills through locally based French subsidiaries
The consortium can draw upon the experience of EOLFI and Valeco, two historical French developers of renewable energy projects, which have detailed knowledge in project development, consultation and territorial specificities.
With teams that have been present in Lorient and Nantes for several years, they will bring their field knowledge to propose a project at top level in terms of consultation. The consortium will also benefit from the territorial anchoring of the Banque des Territoires in Brittany.
Drawing on EOLFI's experience in developing the pilot farm Groix & Belle-Ile, the consortium will pursue the dialogue with local stakeholders including sea users, environmental associations and local elected officials.
A desire for collaborative integration into the territories
With all the actors involved in the project (industry partners, engineering and development companies) the consortium aims to:
- work in close collaboration with local authorities, institutions, associations and all inhabitants
- maximize the local economic benefits of the project and create a sustainable industrial sector with job creation
- integrate landscape and environmental issues
- promote harmonious cohabitation between floating wind turbines and other offshore activities.
“We are delighted to be officially in the running and will participate with great ambition and humility. In France, we combine the strengths of all our partners. ENBW will bring to the French offshore wind market more than ten years of experience and technical know-how as one of Europe's leading offshore wind developers”, François Daumard, President of Valeco.
“Last year we commissioned one of the largest offshore wind projects in the North Sea. We have been developing large floating projects, such as in California, and in addition, have been engaged for years in research and development of floating wind technologies. With this background we are convinced that our joint venture with Shell and the Banque des Territoires has compiled an exceptional skill set”, adds Holger Grubel, Head of Portfolio Development Offshore Wind at EnBW.
“This project is fully in line with our ambition of being a major player in the energy transition. Floating offshore wind represents a strategic and promising market, in France and globally, and Shell will bring its experience in delivering large scale offshore energy projects. Our collaboration with our partners ENBW and the Banque des Territoires for this first call commercial floating wind farm in France enables us to combine our strengths by presenting a project which is safe, innovative and sustainable to make the energy transition a reality”, explains Thomas Brostrom, SVP Global Renewable Solutions at Shell.
"Through this first commercial offshore wind project we would reinforce our territorial presence in Brittany. Leveraging on the Groix & Belle Ile pilot farm, we believe that we can provide renewable and energy transition solutions to the Brittany region” adds, Vincent Fromont, President of EOLFI.
« Banque des Territoires’s participation in this consortium is integrated into the operational implementation of its Climate recovery plan for more sustainable territories. Through our investments, we intend to increase the weighting of renewable energies, diversify the energy mix, contribute to local economic development and support the development of renewable energy production facilities which are as close as possible to the user territories. We also aim to participate in structuring an efficient and competitive French and European marine energy industry", concludes Charlotte Virally, Investment Director, head of Banque des Territoires renewable energies division.
More about floating wind turbines
The objective that France set in the 2019 Energy and Climate Law is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with the intermediate objective of increasing the share of renewable energies to 40% of total electricity production.
France has the world's second largest maritime area, with very high potential and an estimated capacity of around 200 GW. Floating wind turbines offer many advantages in meeting this target:
- Access to deeper zones, over 50m, in the open sea with strong and regular winds
- Limited visual impact and conflicts of use due to the distance from the coast, due to the reduced constraints of depth
- Development of an industrial sector that creates jobs through dockside assembly yards.
At present, there are 4 floating wind farm pilot projects, awarded in 2016 further to a call for projects by the ADEME. The Groix & Belle-Ile project on the Atlantic coast, the only project characterized by oceanic sea conditions, and 3 others on the Mediterranean coast. The South Brittany project (AO5) is the first commercial tender launched by the Government, with an estimated capacity of 250MW.
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