19 July 2021
Big-scale floating wind is kicking off in France
France has closed the world’s first-ever auction for a commercial-sized floating offshore wind farm. The future wind farm will be located in the Atlantic Ocean south of Brittany and will have a capacity of 250MW. France will then auction two other floating projects of a similar size over the next year. These will be in the in the Mediterranean Sea which also has good conditions for floating wind.
This auction is a big step in the upscaling and commercialisation of floating wind technology. Commercialisation will bring down costs for floating wind as it has done for other technologies. The auction has a cap price of €120/MWh and the winning price is expected to be under €100/MWh – much lower than previous test projects for floating offshore wind.
The French Council of State has recently ruled that France is not doing enough to fight climate change and that it needs to increase its climate commitments. So France needs more offshore wind energy if it wants to reach its climate targets. Floating technology allows it to build offshore wind in its deeper seas and is therefore an excellent technology for further decarbonisation in France and other countries with similarly deep seas.
Nearly all of Europe’s offshore wind today is bottom-fixed in the seabed. But this only works at sea depths of up to 50 metres. Beyond 50m sea depth offshore wind needs to be floating.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said: “This is a huge step forward in making offshore floating wind more widespread and cheaper. France needs to act on its climate commitments and by building this large-scale floating wind farm France is putting itself in the world’s top for floating technology.”