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HomeTop Global NewsAfter Years As Nuclear Powerhouse, France Plays In Offshore Wind

After Years As Nuclear Powerhouse, France Plays In Offshore Wind

This September 2022 photo shows French President Emmanuel Macron talking with workers on a boat during a visit to the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm.

Stephen Mahe | AFP | Getty Images

A facility described as “France’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project” is a fully operational, multinational utility edf said this week.

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

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

Located in the waters off the south west coast of France, the Saint-Nazaire project consists of 80 turbines. Its first electricity was generated in June 2022.

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

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While the Saint-Nazaire project represents a significant shot in the arm for France’s nascent offshore wind sector, the country has been a powerhouse for decades when it comes to nuclear.

According to the World Nuclear Association, France has 56 operational reactors. “France receives about 70% of its electricity from nuclear power,” it adds.

In wind power, the country has an established onshore sector. Its offshore industry is by contrast tiny, with a cumulative capacity of just 2 MW in 2021, according to figures from industry body WindEurope.

This is set to change in the coming years. “Offshore installations are finally set to begin by 2022, and we expect to have 3.3 GW offshore wind installations from now to 2026.” WindEurope’s Wind Energy in Europe report, which was published in February 2022, said.

In a statement, Bruno Bensson, CEO of EDF Renewables, expressed his pride in what has been called “France’s first industrial offshore wind farm”.

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

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