First for France as wind turbine heads offshore

While there are more than 30 offshore windfarms in the UK, October saw the first sparks of French offshore electricity.

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France may be slow to join the sea-borne windfarm party but its first attempt is a cutting-edge one. The turbine, an hour off the coast of Le Croisic, Loire-Atlantique, is one of only eight in the world that is not permanently fixed but floats on a platform connected to the seabed by cables and anchors that can be moved whenever required.

The floating platform eliminates depth restraints that mean fixed turbines can only operate in 40m of water.

In another first – this time global – a farm of hydro turbines has been installed in the river Rhône near Lyon.

The turbine farm will be operational by 2019 and over the next 18 years will produce one gigawatt-hour of renewable electricity per year, enough to provide all the electricity needs of 400 homes, and reduce CO2 emissions by 300 tonnes a year.

The wind energy sector in France is growing rapidly. It currently employs more than 17,000 people and last year created four new jobs every day.