Wind power: abandonment of a pilot floating project off Belle-Ile

Shell which, with two partners, was to install a pilot site for floating wind turbines off Groix and Belle-Ile-en-Mer, has decided to abandon its project, due to rising costs and “technical challenges, commercial and financial,” the consortium announced on Tuesday, confirming information from Les Echos.

This 300 million euro project was carried out by a consortium bringing together Shell, with the Banque des Territoires (Caisse des dépôts) and the Chinese company CGN.

It was to allow the testing of three floating wind turbines, a technology seen as the future of offshore wind power because it would allow wind farms to be installed deeper, and therefore in particular further from the coast, than wind turbines riveted to the sea floor.

Three other floating pilot farms are announced in France, all in the Mediterranean. For example, the floats of the planned project off Port-St-Louis-du-Rhône (Bouches-du-Rhône) were unveiled on Monday.

But the Breton project “has faced several technical, commercial and financial challenges, all in a context of constantly rising costs and very strong constraints, in terms of inflation and the supply chain”, explained the consortium. in a statement Tuesday.

“The economic conditions linked to the project have been significantly modified, calling into question, for all the partners of the consortium, the economic viability of the project”, he added.

In particular, the project came up against the withdrawal of General Electric, which was to supply the six megawatt (MW) wind turbines but refocused on the manufacture of equipment that is now more powerful, then of the float manufacturer Naval Group, which sold its activity in floating wind power, detailed the article from Les Echos, the content of which Shell confirmed to AFP.

Combined with the general rise in costs and the energy crisis, this no longer made it possible to build a sustainable economic model.

Shell took over the project in 2019 by buying the company Eolfi, a former subsidiary of Veolia and a pioneer in floating wind power.

France, which is due to inaugurate its very first wind farm in a few days (80 wind turbines placed on the bottom) facing Saint-Nazaire, is counting on floating technology to be able to meet its ambitions: some 40 gigawatts (about 50 parks) of here 2050.

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