Turbine Installation Begins at France’s First Offshore Wind Farm
After nearly three years in development, France’s first offshore wind farm moved into a final stage of construction with the installation yesterday of the first of the wind turbines. Located near Saint-Nazaire, the project is slated to have a capacity of 480 MW, which will equal 20 percent of Loire Atlantique’s electric consumption.
Being developed by EDF Renewables and a joint venture between Enbridge and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the offshore wind farm is seen as an important element in France’s efforts to develop renewable energy sources. It is located more than seven miles off the coast of the Guérande peninsula. The monopile foundations were anchored in the seabed at a depth ranging between approximately 40 and 80 feet. When completed, the wind farm will consist of 80 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6 MW, built by GE Renewable Energy.
Installation of the wind turbines is being carried out by Jan De Nul’s Offshore Jack-Up Installation Vessel Vole au vent. Built in 2013, the jack-up vessel has a lift capacity of up to 1,500 tons. After five weeks of maintenance and project preparations in the port of Ostend, Belgium, the Vole au vent left for Saint-Nazaire, where she arrived on March 31. From the marshaling harbor, the Vole au vent will load the wind turbines and transport them offshore, for installation at the location in the northern part of the Bay of Biscay.
In sets of four, the turbines will be loaded on board the Vole au vent and transported offshore, where the vessel will mount them on top of monopile foundations. According to Jan De Nul, the installation of one turbine takes approximately 24 hours, depending on the weather conditions, so each installation trip will take about five days. The last turbine is scheduled to be mounted in Autumn 2022.
Other key elements for the site have already been completed and installed. The electrical substation, built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique et GE Grid, was completed in July 2021 and positioned on its jacket foundation the following month. Cabling work was also under way while a maintenance base in La Turballe was under development. The wind farm is scheduled to be operational before the end of the year and is projected to have a 25-year lifespan.