The Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal, who assembled the manufacturers and energy providers from the sector, intends to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energies. Objective: the installation of an offshore electricity energy capacity 6,000 megawatts in 2020 able to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
New offshore wind power energy sector: France’s assets
France’s ambition is to become the European leader in the area of offshore renewable energies.
Our country benefits from considerable advantages to achieve this goal: in addition to possessing the second largest wind and marine current power deposits on the continent, France is the second largest maritime power, with 11 million square kilometres of maritime zone. The known resource is mainly concentrated off the coasts of Normandy, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire. There are also opportunities to be seized in the Overseas territories and in the Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon and PACA regions.
France has set itself the objective of installing an offshore electricity production capacity of 6,000 megawatts in 2020, "or 3.5% of our electricity production."
This maritime power doubles up as an industrial power, since with EDF, GDF Suez, Alstom and Areva, France is home to several international gems in terms of marine energies. This sector of French excellence currently has the know-how to build offshore wind turbines capable of producing up to 8 MW of power per turbine. In order to exploit the potential of wind power in the deepest of waters, like those which can be found in the Mediterranean, constructers have started to develop prototypes of floating offshore wind turbines.
Four offshore wind farms, representing 2,000 megawatts, have already been anticipated, including three located:
off the coast of Saint-Nazaire for the EDF Dong consortium, with Alstom and Nass&Wind;
at Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp for the EDF Dong consortium, with Alstom and WPD.
Ségolène Royal has decided to attribute, in the framework of the second call for tender, the creation and operation of two new offshore wind farms built at Yeu-Noirmoutier and Tréport to the GDF Suez-Areva consortium. The capacity of these two new wind farms located at sea will be 1,000 megawatts.
All of these projects illustrate the Minister’s desire to combine energy transition with economic development.
More than 10,000 jobs anticipated
The generated investments, totalling approximately 3.5 billion Euros, will make it possible to galvanise the industrial presence on our territory.
10,000 direct and indirect jobs are anticipated. Offshore renewable energies constitute a unique opportunity for France to develop a job source sector, with a strong base in the territories: establishment of factories in the regions concerned, production of foundations, operation and maintenance of the facilities during at least twenty months (jobs that cannot be outsourced)...
The installation of instructing parties over the national territory should allow for the galvanisation of the local industrial fabric, especially SMEs. Finally, a number of related jobs are also a key factor, thanks to the development of the port activities, the shipyards and more in general, industry and employment zones located mainly on the coast.
To commit France to this new energy model, a provider of jobs and activity, Ségolène Royal announced:
the strengthening of the offshore wind power sector thanks to the identification of new zones; the initial results will be available this summer;
the launch of a new call for tender for high power photovoltaic installations by this summer.
The Minister’s desire is to quickly develop these new parks in France but also to be aggressive in winning foreign markets. In Europe alone, the potential from here to 2020 is 30,000 megawatts, for only 6,500 currently installed.