Onshore tests completed for French offshore wind farm
INITIAL tests have been successfully completed on a multi-billion-dollar project that will see dozens of wind turbines built in French waters to the southwest of Jersey.
The planned Saint-Breiuc wind farm is scheduled to be built by 2023 and will see 64 turbines built 16km north of the Breton coast with the aim of generating 496 megawatts of power, which is enough to supply 835,000 homes.
Although the scheme is being built just outside Jersey’s territorial waters, it is thought the turbines could be visible from some parts of the south coast. The closest one will be 3.7 miles from the Minquiers – the most southerly point of the Bailiwick.
This month German manufacturing firm Bauer Group completed onshore piling tests with the aim of applying their new techniques to build the underwater foundations for the farm, which is planned to cover a 75km² area.
Paul Scheller, head of underwater foundations at the company, said: ‘The aim of the onshore tests was to obtain important skin-friction values for the foundation of the planned offshore wind farm.’
He added that the work was ‘the first commercial application of this type of piling worldwide’.
Saint-Brieuc was one of six projects recently awarded European Commission funding to contribute to electricity generation, in line with state aid rules.
The other sites, which are all of a similar size and located off the north and west coast of France, include Courseulles-sur-Mer on the north coast of Normandy, Iles d’Yeu et de Noirmoutier and Saint-Nazaire, which are both on the Breton coast to the west of Nantes, Fécamp and Dieppe/Le Tréport.
The Saint-Brieuc project, which has an estimated investment of $2.8 billion, is being developed by Ailes Marines, a consortium of Iberdrola (70% shareholder), RES Group (22.5%), and the French public sector financiers Caisse des Dépôts (7.5%).
France has an ambitious programme of developing offshore wind farms and is aiming to produce nearly a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by next year.
Earlier this week, speaking exclusively to the JEP, Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister Alan Whitehead said that Jersey and the other Channel Islands had huge potential for wind and tidal power due to their natural resources.
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