Too complicated… and too expensive. The Shell company has decided to withdraw from a pilot project of floating wind turbines off Groix and Belle-Ile-en-Mer (Morbihan), a 300 million euro program carried out by a consortium bringing together Shell, the Banque des Territoires (Caisse des dépôts) and the Chinese China General Nuclear Power Group.
The Consortium “has faced several technical, commercial and financial challenges, all in a context of constantly increasing costs and very strong constraints, in terms of inflation and supply chain”he explained in a press release on Tuesday, November 15, confirming information from Echoes.
The Breton program was to make it possible to test three floating wind turbines, a technology seen as the future of offshore wind power because it allows wind farms to be installed deeper, and therefore further from the coast, than wind turbines riveted to the seabed.
The project had already come up against the withdrawal of turbine manufacturers General Electric then Vestas, which were to supply the 6 megawatt wind turbines, and then that of the float manufacturer Naval Group, which sold its activity in the field. Shell took over the business in 2019 by buying the company Eolfi, a former subsidiary of Veolia and a pioneer in floating wind power.
” Working order “
In the eyes of the government, this disappointment does not call into question France’s progress in the sector. Of course, the state “regret” this abandonment; “However, the three other pilot farms will be commissioned in the next two years, while France has been in working order very early (since almost eight years) to structure a strong wind energy sector floating »according to the Ministry of Energy Transition, which also recalls the launch this year of commercial calls for tenders for floating parks ten times larger than the pilots, one in the south of Brittany and two in the Mediterranean.
The State has also allocated through the France 2030 plan around 300 million euros in support of the development of technologies and industrial and port facilities necessary for the rise of a hexagonal sector. France, which is due to inaugurate its very first wind farm in a few days (eighty wind turbines placed on the bottom) facing Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), is counting on floating technology to meet its ambitions: some 40 gigawatts – around fifty parks – by 2050.
The other three floating pilot farms are announced in the Mediterranean. The floats of the planned project off Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône (Bouches-du-Rhône) were unveiled on Monday.