Home MarketsEurope & Middle East After years as a nuclear power, France is playing with the wind at sea

After years as a nuclear power, France is playing with the wind at sea

by SuperiorInvest

This September 2022 photo shows French President Emmanuel Macron talking to workers on board a ship during a visit to an offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire.

Stephane Mah | AFP | Getty Images

Described as “France’s first commercial offshore wind project”, the facility is a fully operational, multinational company EDF he said this week.

The report marks a significant step forward for the country’s offshore wind sector, with more projects to come online in the coming years.

EDF said in a statement on Wednesday that the 480-megawatt Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm will help “support the French state’s energy transition goals, which include targets to generate 32% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.” The majority shareholder of EDF is the French state.

The Saint-Nazaire project is located in the waters off the southwest coast of France and consists of 80 turbines. Its first electricity was produced in June 2022.

Looking ahead, EDF said the wind farm would “supply electricity equivalent to the consumption of 700,000 people per year”.

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While the Saint-Nazaire project represents a significant opportunity for France’s nascent offshore wind sector, the country has been something of a nuclear powerhouse for decades.

According to the World Nuclear Association, France is home to 56 operational reactors. “France gets about 70% of its electricity from nuclear power,” he adds.

In the field of wind energy, the country has an established offshore sector. Its offshore industry, by contrast, is minuscule, with a cumulative capacity of just 2MW in 2021, according to industry body WindEurope.

This is to change in the coming years. “Onshore installations are finally set to take off from 2022 and we expect 3.3 GW of offshore wind installations between now and 2026,” This is according to the WindEurope Wind Energy in Europe report, which was published in February 2022.

In a statement, EDF Renewables CEO Bruno Bensasson expressed pride in the commissioning of what he called “France’s first industrial offshore wind farm”.

“Over the past 10 years, this project has contributed to the construction of the offshore wind industry in France, mobilizing a significant number of jobs during construction and now in the operational phase,” he added later.

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