Enbridge announces completion of France’s first offshore wind farm

France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, which was developed by Canadian energy giant Enbridge Inc. in partnership with EDF Renewables and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, officially opened Wednesday.

The 480-megawatt Saint-Nazaire wind farm consists of 80 turbines off the coast of the Loire-Atlantique region of France. It is expected to power the equivalent of 400,000 homes annually, or 20 per cent of the Loire-Atlantique region’s electricity consumption.

The two-billion-euro project was developed as part of the French government’s aim to grow the country’s renewable power sector. French president Emmanuel Macron has said that France aims to have around 40 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in operation by 2050, which would work out to around 50 offshore wind farms.

Calgary-based Enbridge, which has a 25.5 per cent ownership stake in the Saint-Nazaire project, is also keen to grow its wind power portfolio. Since 2015, the company’s involvement in European offshore wind energy has grown significantly, and includes ownership interests in the Rampion Offshore wind project in England and the Hohe See and Albatros wind projects off the coast of Germany.

Enbridge is also a partner in three other French wind projects — Fecamp, Calvados and Provence Grand Large — that are currently under construction.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that it is pleased to see the Saint-Nazaire wind farm come online at a time when the global energy crisis is underscoring the importance of reliable, secure energy, especially in Europe.

“Enbridge is excited about the arrival of the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in France, the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, and about our role as a leader of the global energy transition,” said Matthew Akman, Enbridge’s senior vice-president for power, strategy and new energy technology, in a news release.