France’s largest offshore wind farm approved

Brittany project will produce enough energy for 850,000 at full power

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Plans for the largest wind farm off Brittany have been given the go-ahead for Baie de Saint-Brieuc, where 62 wind turbines will cover 103km2.

Producing 496MW when at full capacity, the €2.5billion project will start producing power in 2020 and supply an estimated 1,850 gigawatt/hour into the French national grid each year, enough for 850,000 people.

The site is 16km off the Brittany coast at its closest, between Ile de Bréhat and Saint-Malo. It was a key location during the Second World War and the UK coastal survey vessel Bibby Tethra has been sweeping the area for unexploded mines and bombs.

Ailes Marines, the company behind the project, said that it was the “first large-scale marine renewable energy project in Brittany and one of the first of its kind at a national level to obtain all the necessary authorisations”.

With offshore construction due to start in the latter part of next year, the wind farm will create 2,000 jobs, with 1,800 in manufacturing the wind turbines and components.

The cost is funded by Ailes Marines backers, Iberdrola, RES and Caisse des Depots and Ailes Marines has more detailed information on the project on its website, in English.

It comes as work continues to test a tidal power station off Cherbourg in the Alderney Race channel (known locally as raz de Blanchard) and the raz de Barfleur. DCNS Energies and EDF EN are installing seven OpenHydro turbines 3.5km from Goury (Manche) in waters 30m deep. It will give 14MW of power, estimated to give enough for 10,000 people each year.

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