France's first floating offshore turbine - and it's first offshore wind turbine at all - was inauguarted in Saint-Nazaire, France, today.
The 2MW Vestas turbine is primed for the École Centrale de Nantes and CNRS's SEM-REV offshore test site, after which it will be installed off the coast of Croisic for an initial period of two years. Demonstration parks are expected to follow.
The electricity produced will be sent directly to the electrical grid during its operation. Ideol designed the floating system (the foundation, anchoring system and the configuration of the electricity export cabling) and provided the wind turbine. École Centrale de Nantes brought its expertise in oceanographic engineering, provided the anchoring system and allowed use of its SEM-REV offshore test site, and Bouygues Travaux Publics, constructed the floating base.
The aim of the project is to confirm the technical feasibility and economic viability of floating wind turbines, as well as to demonstrate that Ideol’s technological solution is the most competitive one on the market.
Floating wind turbines are not constrained by depth and they broaden the market potential considerably, with over 80% of offshore wind energy resources located at depths of over 60 metres.
They can also be set up further away at sea and therefore have a low or non-existent visual impact from the coast. They also take advantage of stronger, more constant winds, which translates to increased electricity generation.
French potential in terms of floating wind turbines is estimated at 6GW between now and 2030, which is the equivalent of 3.6 EPR nuclear power plants.
The project was supported by the European Union as part of its FP7 program, by ADEME as part of its Future Investments Program and by the Pays de la Loire Region.
On 13 July 2017, the French government selected a consortium led by Quadran Energies Marines around Ideol’s solution of a floating base for the creation of the first wind farm in the Mediterranean (with four units installed off the coast of Gruissan, one of the best sources of wind energy in Europe, as part of the of the EOLMED project).
An Ideol technology demonstration unit is also under construction in Japan.
Image from Ideol.