Known for its blustery winds, choppy seas and notorious storms, the Bay of Biscay in western France may seem like an unusual place for warm smiles and sunny celebrations-especially in late November.
But the winds of the Loire-Atlantique region and Atlantic Ocean are being cheered today as France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project becomes fully operational.
French project partner EDF Renewables and EIH S.à.r.l, a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. and CPP Investments, built the Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm, a significant endeavor for France, which is aiming for renewable energy to make up 30% of final energy consumption by 2030.
The 480-MW Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm can generate electricity to power an equivalent of about 400,000 homes, or 20% of the Loire-Atlantique region’s electricity consumption. The arrival of a new supply of clean and affordable energy is also fortuitous, if not crucial, coming as a global energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine confirms the importance of reliable, secure energy.
“At Enbridge, we’re proud about the arrival of the company’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project in France and about our role as a leader of the global energy transition,” says Matthew Akman, Enbridge’s Senior Vice President of Power, Strategy and New Energy Technologies.
“The project demonstrates our commitment to moving towards a lower-carbon economy and leading the energy transition,” Akman says. “Enbridge is advancing several renewable energy projects in Europe and North America, and we are proud to have met this achievement ahead of schedule. We extend our appreciation and thanks to our partners, EDF Renewables and CPP Investments, and look forward to continuing our work together in growing France’s offshore wind sector.”
The project covers an area of about 78 square km between 12 and 20 km off the southwest coast, its 80 turbines set at depths between 12 to 25 metres.
Maple Power, a joint venture between Enbridge Inc. and CPP Investments, managed the development and construction phases of the wind farm over the past three years, working closely with all project partners.
As for project ownership, EDF Renewables owns 50%, and EIH S.à.r.l owns 50%, which is split between CPP Investments at 49% ownership and Enbridge at 51% ownership.
Enbridge is a partner in three other French wind projects that are currently under construction: Fecamp, Calvados and Provence Grand Large. We continue to build our low-carbon portfolio, which has grown from an investment in a single wind farm in 2002 to more than C$8 billion invested in renewable energy projects at the end of last year.
We now have 23 wind farms in operation and under construction, 17 solar energy operations, seven renewable natural gas facilities, two hydrogen facilities and 10 other renewable power assets.