France’s First Offshore Wind Farm

TÜV SÜD Group is supporting the French grid operator, Réseau de Transport d’Électricité (RTE), as owner´s engineer for the offshore export cable installation scope of three new offshore wind farms currently being built off the French Atlantic coast. The export cable connection is already in operation at the first wind farm near Saint-Nazaire.

Delivering near-baseload energy production, offshore wind farms are a central element of the European energy transition. Three new offshore wind farms are currently being built off the French Atlantic Sea coast at Saint-Nazaire, Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-Mer, where a total of more than 150 wind turbines are to be installed. The first wind farm near Saint-Nazaire, with 80 wind turbines and a total output of 480 MW, will be put into operation by the end of 2022.

The French grid operator RTE is responsible for connecting the three offshore wind farms to the French electricity grid. As owner´s engineer, TÜV SÜD Group is supporting RTE with installation and cable protection as well as following up on the design and work of the submarine part of the connections to the three wind farms. At the Project Management Office (PMO) at TÜV Hessen, a member of TÜV SÜD Group, Tatiana Sánchez Martinez is responsible for coordinating the cooperation between TÜV Hessen, TÜV SÜD UK, Tractebel DOC Offshore GmbH and other subcontractors of TÜV SÜD.

“One of the most important tasks of the PMO is leading the commercial and contract management, invoicing and financial control of our project scope” says Sánchez Martinez. In addition, the project manager and her team have to keep a close eye on the financial side of the overall project and make sure that budgets do not get out of hand. “The offshore environment is always a challenge for projects in this area”, explains Sánchez Martinez. “However, by pooling our experience with that of Tractebel DOC, we have been able to predict delay, manage associated risks and minimise their impact on the project, and we are proud of our successful support for RTE in achieving an important milestone in the overall project.”

In future, the St. Nazaire wind farm will cover about 20 per cent of electricity consumption for the French department of Loire-Atlantique.

The project is also a test of the partnership between TÜV SÜD Group and Tractebel DOC. In February 2022, the two companies had agreed to work together in the field of offshore wind energy and to jointly implement new projects. “We can now see how well the partnership works in practice” explains Tatiana Sánchez Martinez.