French Court gives offshore wind farms the greenlight

4C Offshore | Matthew White
By: 25/07/2019 Matthew White
France's supreme administrative court, the Conseil d'Etat, dismissed the appeals against the concession permits that allow the Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp offshore wind projects to occupy publicly owned maritime zones.

Located off the coast of Normandy, the
450MW Courseulles-sur-Mer and 498MW Fécamp projects will generate enough power to supply 630,000 people, or over 90% of the Calvados department’s population, and more than 770,000 people, or over 60% of the Seine-Maritime department’s population.
The consortium of EDF Renewables, Enbridge and wpd was awarded the projects along with the
Saint Nazaire wind farm in the first call for tenders by the French State in 2012. Faced with administrative hurdles, the consortium has been shaping the projects for more than 10 years.  Local authorities, the region’s population, sea users (chiefly fishing professionals), environmental organisations, and local economic and social development agencies have all been involved in the process. The decision rendered by the State Council will now allow the developers to progress towards construction.  

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group’s Senior Executive Vice President, Renewable Energies and Chairman & CEO of EDF Renewables, commented: “This Conseil d’Etat ruling is a further endorsement of the quality of the projects developed by EDF Renewables’, Enbridge’s and wpd’s teams. The three groups worked together to address all the energy and economic priorities in the Normandy region.

With four projects in development, the EDF Group consolidates its position as leader of France’s offshore wind energy industry and is a major force across Europe. These large-scale projects fit perfectly with EDF’s Cap 2030 strategy, under which it aims to double the Group’s renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030 to bring them to 50,000 MW.”
He continued.

The decision follows on from the ruling handed down by the Conseil d’Etat on 7th June approving the permit to operate the
Saint Nazaire offshore wind farm project.

The Conseil d'Etat has also cleared two appeals against the creation of a 496MW offshore wind farm off the coast of
Saint-Brieuc. Appeals were submitted against the tendering procedure and the operating licence by environmental group Gardez les caps and rival developer Nass & Wind.

The Conseil d'Etat ruled that although the tender procedure was irregular this did not affect the characteristics of the proposed wind farm itself, and therefore the authorization of the use. Hence appeals submitted against the operating permit were deemed unfounded. Nass&Wind was awarded €2.5m in compensation due to the “irregularity” of the tender procedure for the project.

In light of the good news the project developer commented: "Ailes Marines and its shareholders (Iberdrola, RES and Caisse des Dépôts) have learned with great satisfaction of the decision of the Council of State concerning the offshore wind project of Saint-Brieuc. This excellent news for the industrial sector reinforces the solidity of the project, whose development continues according to the announced programme, with a start of construction in 2021 and a commissioning in 2023."

Ailes Marines are still waiting on the output of  four other ongoing court cases, which will need to be cleared by the Conseil d'Etat for the project to progress.

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