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Construction of France’s first offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire: production of components finalised and offshore operations continued

  • EMR

Saint-Nazaire, August 28th 2021. France’s Prime Minister Mr Jean Castex was today accompanied by Mrs Barbara Pompili, French Minister of the  Ecological Transition, and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, State Secretary for Economy and Finance at the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance,  in charge of Industry, on a visit to the first construction site of France’s offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire, in the Pays de la Loire region. The visit took place in the presence of Mr Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the EDF Group, and Mr Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President  Renewable Energies, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, and Mr Jérôme Pécresse, Chief Executive Officer of GE Renewable Energy.

The Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm is jointly owned by EDF Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of the EDF Group, and EIH S.à r.l., a joint venture between Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (through its wholly owned subsidiary CPP Investment Board Europe S.à r.l.). With a capacity of 480 MW, it comprises 80 wind turbines located on the rocky plateau of the Banc de Guérande, more than 12 km off the coast of the Guérande peninsula.

Two years after construction works began, significant progress has been made in producing the various components required for the future wind farm. For example:

  • The foundations are manufactured by Eiffage Metal and delivered over time to La Rochelle, from where they sent off for installation;
  • The wind turbines: the nacelles and generators of the 80 wind turbines, each with capacity of 6 MW, are in the process of being assembled at the GE Renewable Energy plant in Montoir-de-Bretagne (Loire-Atlantique). These components have entered the assembly line, with half already in storage at Saint-Nazaire port before being installed offshore. The mast sections and blades are gradually being stored at the same site.
  • The sub-sea cables connecting the wind turbines to the electrical substation have been manufactured by Prysmian Group at its plants in Montereau-Fault-Yonne (Seine-et-Marne) and Gron (Yonne), and are currently being stored at Saint-Nazaire port.
  • The electrical substation built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique et GE Grid was completed in July 2021.
  • The connection works carried out by RTE have been finalised between Prinquiau and Plage de la Courance.
  • Construction of the maintenance base in La Turballe (Loire-Atlantique) is in the process of being finalised.

In addition, offshore installation works before the site is commissioned have already begun:

  • The first 21 monopile foundations (steel tubes anchored in the seabed at a depth of 12 to 25 metres) have been installed by a vessel operated by SDI (part of the DEME Group).
  • The first sub-sea cables have begun to be deployed on the seabed between the foundations by Louis Dreyfus TravOcean.
  • On 21 August, the electrical substation was positioned on its jacket foundation by SDI.
  • RTE’s offshore cables have been deployed and are ready to be pulled onto the offshore electrical substation.

As of spring 2022, the wind turbines will be installed offshore and then gradually put into service. Once operational, the wind farm will produce the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 700,000 people, equal to 20% of the Loire-Atlantique department annual electricity consumption.

The works, lasting more than three years, currently involve more than 1,200 direct employees in the Pays de la Loire region. The construction project is also contributing to create a national industry, providing jobs and new skills. The local French businesses involved in constructing the wind farm are gaining experience in this fast-growing sector, allowing them to take part in other projects in France and abroad. The Fécamp and Calvados (Courseulles-sur-Mer) wind farms, also won by EDF Renewables and EIH S.à r.l, are under construction in Normandy and thereby participating to develop this industrial sector. The three projects together involve more than 7,000 direct and indirect workers across France.

For the entire lifespan of the wind farm – approximately 25 years – a team of a 100 people will work from the maintenance base in La Turballe to carry out operations and preventive and corrective maintenance tasks on the turbines, as well as supervision and optimisation of the wind farm’s power generation, keeping an eye on weather conditions and planning offshore interventions, and, of course, ensuring the site’s overall security.

In addition, since the beginning of the project, a continuous dialogue has been established with local stakeholders (elected officials and local authorities, coastline communities, environmental protection associations local residents,  government entities, etc.). An in-depth environmental study has been carried out and the project has been adapted in order to blend in with the natural environment. The Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm therefore meets all local requirements: energy transition, boosting the economy, integration into the landscape, protecting the environment and compatibility of maritime activities. Ongoing close collaboration with fishermen and their representatives is continuing in order to enable both activities to operate side-by-side at the site.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the EDF Group, comments: “The EDF Group is immensely proud to be building the very first offshore wind farm in France alongside our partner, Enbridge. I would like to congratulate the teams from the EDF Group and our industrial partners for their professionalism, as well as the local and national operators involved for creating this installation, a symbol of France’s energy transition. With three offshore wind farms under construction, one project in development and a pilot floating wind farm project, the EDF Group is now the sector leader in France. All these projects contribute to the development of a true French industrial sector of excellence, which is already creating value and jobs for locals in particular for the Pays de la Loire region. They are fully in line with the EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double its renewable energy capacities worldwide between 2015 and 2030 to 60 GW net. They also contribute to the multi-year energy strategy and net zero carbon target adopted by France, calling for a drastic reduction in the proportion of fossil fuels in our energy mix, which currently represent 67% of France’s end energy consumption, replacing this with electricity generated from nuclear and renewable sources.”.

Jérôme Pécresse, Chairman & CEO of GE Renewable Energy, adds: “GE Renewable Energy was the first manufacturer to invest in an offshore wind turbine nacelle assembly plant in France, and then in a blade manufacturing plant in Cherbourg. We are proud of the progress made in developing this cutting-edge industry, as well as the creation of France’s first offshore wind farm, alongside our partners and suppliers. We are continuing to look towards the future of this strategic industry and perpetuating the skills developed at our plants to ensure the successful future of offshore wind power in France and abroad.”.

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About EDF

As a major player in energy transition, the EDF Group is an integrated energy company active in all businesses: generation, transmission, distribution, energy trading, energy sales and energy services. EDF group is a world leader in low-carbon energy, having developed a diverse production mix based mainly on nuclear and renewable energy (including hydropower). It is also investing in new technologies to support energy transition. EDF’s raison d’être is to build a net zero energy future with electricity and innovative solutions and services, to help save the planet and drive well-being and economic development. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 37.9 million customers(1), of whom 28.7 million in France(2). It generated consolidated sales of €69.0 billion in 2020. EDF is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.

(1) Since 2018, customers are counted per delivery site. A customer can have two delivery points: one for electricity and another one for gas.
(2) Including ÉS (Électricité de Strasbourg)


About EDF Renewables

EDF Renewables is a leading international player in renewable energies, with gross installed capacity of 13.8 GW worldwide. Its development is mainly focused on wind and solar photovoltaic power. EDF Renewables operates mostly in Europe and North America but is continuing to grow by moving into promising emerging regions such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the Middle East. The company has strong positions in offshore wind power, but also in other areas of the renewable energies industry such as energy storage. EDF Renewables develops, builds, operates and maintains renewable energies projects, both for itself and for third parties. EDF Renewables is the EDF Group subsidiary specialising in developing solar and wind power.
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About Enbridge

Enbridge Inc. is a leading North American energy infrastructure company. We safely and reliably deliver the energy people need and want to fuel quality of life. Our core businesses include Liquids Pipelines, which transports approximately 25 percent of the crude oil produced in North America; Gas Transmission and Midstream, which transports approximately 20 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S.; Gas Distribution and Storage, which serves approximately 3.8 million retail customers in Ontario and Quebec; and Renewable Power Generation, which generates approximately 1,763 MW of net renewable power in North America and Europe. The Company’s common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol ENB.
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About CPP Investments

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments™) is a professional investment management organization that manages the Fund in the best interest of the more than 20 million contributors and beneficiaries of the Canada Pension Plan. In order to build diversified portfolios of assets, investments are made around the world in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income. Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, San Francisco, São Paulo and Sydney, CPP Investments is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm’s length from governments. At June 30, 2021, the Fund totalled C$519.6 billion.

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About GE Renewable Energy

GE Renewable Energy is a $16 billion business that combines one of the broadest portfolios in the renewable energy industry to provide end-to-end solutions for our customers demanding reliable and affordable green power. Combining onshore and offshore wind, blades, hydro, storage, utility-scale solar, and grid solutions as well as hybrid renewables and digital services offerings, GE Renewable Energy has installed more than 400+ gigawatts of clean renewable energy and equipped more than 90 percent of utilities worldwide with its grid solutions. With nearly 40,000 employees present in more than 80 countries, GE Renewable Energy creates value for customers seeking to power the world with affordable, reliable, and sustainable green electrons.
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For EDF Renewables

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For Enbridge

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