The offshore wind farm will be built some 20 km off the coast of Saint-Brieuc Bay in the French administrative area of Cotes d’Armor by the consortium led by Iberdrola and Eole-RES and including technology partners Areva, Technip and Neoen Marine. A Joint Venture company, Ailes Marines, or Sea Wings, has been set up to manage the project and subsequent operation of the site. Over the next 18 months, the consortium will analyse both the technical and environmental risk conditions of the site in order to conduct the project feasibility study.
In July 2011, France launched the first round of a tender process aimed at installing 3,000 MW of offshore wind capacity which involved the construction of around 600 wind turbines by 2018. The Saint-Brieuc offshore project covers a total area of 80 km2 and comprises 100 wind turbines of 5 MW capacity each.
Keith Anderson, Offshore Division Director of Iberdrola said: "We have overcome tough competition and this decision is a vote of confidence for the Iberdrola – Eole-RES led consortium as well as a milestone in the creation of a permanent offshore industry for France. The development, construction and operation of this wind project will lead to the creation of 2,000 jobs, many of them based in Northwestern France, and give a significant boost to the economy in Brittany."
Jean-Marc Armitano CEO of Eole-Res said, "This success recognises the expertise of the Iberdrola and Eole-RES consortium in the development and operation of wind energy projects. Our offer has met the government’s requirements in terms of its industrial plan, energy price and environmental solutions."
One of the first tasks of the project company Ailes Marines will be to continue the working relationship with other legitimate users of coastal waters, the local communities and other key stakeholders. The Iberdrola – Eole-RES consortium will also deploy local skills such as civil engineering, manufacturing and shipbuilding to create the required economic fabric and supply chain from the wind turbine construction stage to offshore operation.
The consortium partners will play a key role in the creation of a truly French offshore wind industry. Of the more than 2,000 jobs created in the development, construction and operational phases, mainly in Northwestern France, a significant part will be in Brittany. Wind farm operation and maintenance alone will generate 140 permanent jobs in Saint-Brieuc Bay for a minimum of 20 years.
Co-investors Iberdrola and Eole-RES, with the support of Neoen Marine, will jointly develop the offshore wind farm which will be operated by Ailes Marines. Areva Group will manufacture turbines at a factory in Le Havre and will also be responsible for their maintenance. Technip plans to create 300 new engineering jobs in Brittany for the installation of subsea cables, foundations and turbines. The consortium has also signed agreements with French companies STX and Eiffage to manufacture jacket type foundations.
French offshore wind power tender process
In early 2011, France started a tender process with the objective of installing 6,000 MW offshore wind capacity by 2020. The first round of the tender, for 5 offshore wind projects with a joint capacity of 3,000 MW, was launched in July 2011 and it includes the construction of up to 600 wind turbines off 5 coastal areas previously identified by the French government.