France missed its 2020 renewable energy target, but is taking measures to get back on track. One of the largest obstacles to the development of onshore wind farms in France is the military, which has banned wind farms in 45 to 47% of France due to military and aviation regulations. This makes it very difficult to find free land for new developments. Thus, especially offshore wind will play a crucial role in the country’s transition from a nuclear-dominated electricity sector towards cleaner power sources. Through the faster approval of permits, France wants to install 40 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2050. In this article, we’ll delve into the country’s three largest wind farms. We’ll provide insights into their developers, locations, capacities and other useful details.
1) 1GW Centre Manche 1 project in Normandy
France’s largest offshore wind farm to date will be built by Eoliennes en Mer Manche Normandie (EMMN), a joint company of French developer EDF Renewables and UK-based developer Maple Power. Located off the coast of Normandy, the 1GW project will be able to cover electricity consumption of 800,000 households. With construction starting in 2026 or 2027, Centre Manche 1 is expected to become operational in 2031. The Energy Transition Ministry will also have offshore wind tenders for coming projects near Oléron Island (1 GW) and off the Normandy coast (1.5 GW), where the winners have not been revealed yet.
Location: > 32 km off the coast of the departments of Manche and Calvados in the region of Normandy
Developers: EMMN (joint venture by EDF Renewables and Maples power)
2) 497MW Fécamp Offshore Wind farm
Located off the coast of Normandy, this offshore wind farm has a capacity of around 500 MW. Once it becomes operational in 2023, it will be able to cover consumption for 770,000 habitants. The project is being developed by Eolien Maritime France (a joint venture between EDF Renewables; EIH S.à.rl, owned by Enbridge Inc. and CPP Investments) and Germany-based Skyborn Renewables (former name used to be wpd offshore).
Location: English Channel, 13 to 22 km off the French northwest coast, south of Dieppe
Developer: EMF, Skyborn Renewables
3) 480MW operational park in Saint-Nazaire
Situated off the coast of Saint-Nazaire in western France, this offshore wind farm consists of 80 offshore wind turbines. Each turbine has a unit capacity of 6 MW for a total capacity of 480 MW. The wind turbines are located between 12 and 20 km off the coast of Loire-Atlantique, over an overall surface area of 78 km². The production of the wind farm covers the equivalent of 20% of the electricity consumption of Loire-Atlantique. It was also developed by EDF Renewables. Already operational since late September 2022, this is France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project.
Location: off the coast of the Guérande peninsula in Loire-Atlantique, western France
Developer: EDF Renewables
Image: Alexander Mils via Unsplash (13.09.2023)