First offshore wind farm in France

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, inaugurates today off the Atlantic coast of Saint-Nazaire, the first of a series of offshore wind farms that he intends to start up in the face of the energy crisis.

In the morning, Macron will visit by boat the site of the 80 wind turbines, deployed at a distance of between 12 and 20 km off the coast, and the Saint-Nazaire factory, where the wind turbines are assembled before being installed in the sea.

The park, managed by the state company EDF, will be fully operational by the end of the year and will have a capacity of 480 megawatts (MW) capable of supplying a population of 700,000 people.

The aim is to strengthen France’s “energy sovereignty” and reduce the country’s enormous lag in terms of renewable energies compared to its neighbours, for which a bill is planned to “accelerate renewable energies”, which will be presented on next Monday to the Council of Ministers.

The text intends to shorten the deadlines for carrying out the projects, simplifying administrative procedures and limiting the duration of the examination of appeals presented by defenders of the environment, fishermen or neighbors, which aroused criticism from conservation organizations.

On February 10, in the town of Belfort, Macron opted for offshore wind power and unveiled his goal of creating 50 wind farms by 2050, for a capacity of 40 gigawatts, and stopping onshore wind power, with a doubling of capacity current not in 10 but in 30 years.

So far the government has awarded the construction of seven marine parks, some of which are strongly opposed by local fishermen.

In 2021, renewable energies contributed 24 percent of electricity production in France (hydroelectric, wind, solar, bioenergy), while nuclear rose to 69 percent and fossil fuels remained at 7 percent.