French government opens talks for new 1.5 GW wind farm

The French Ministry of Ecological Transition has announced plans to open public consolations for a new wind farm off Normandy within the “Center Manche” area. Consultations will take will take place across two stages: from 3 January to 7 March and then from 25 April to 16 May 2022.

The consultation aims to allow the public to learn about the project, the studies carried out and to express their opinion on the possibility of installing a wind farm within the “Center Manche” zone. It also seeks feedback and on the location of the grid connection network, which will be handled by RTE.

With a capacity of 1.5 GW, the wind farm will cover an area of 260km². The proposed wind farm area is expected to produce 4.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) of renewable electricity each year for at least 20 years and save 1.8 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. It is anticipated that the tender procedure will take place in 2023 with the array coming online in 2031.

The newly announced Center Manche project is located near the previously announced Normandy offshore wind site which is currently being tendered under France's revised tender regime. The government expects to select a winner for the Normandy in 2022 with a view to reaching commissioning in 2028.

Earlier this year a number of candidates were short-listed a number of bidders for the site. This included Eoliennes en Mer Manche Normandie (EDF); Renouvelable and Maple Power (Enbridge and CPPIB); Iberdrola Renovables France; Ocean Winds (ENGIE and EDPR); Shell; a consortium of Total and RWE; and a consortium of Vattenfall, wpd, and the Banque des Territoires.

The 900-1,050 MW Normandy project is the second offshore wind farm , which includes the competitive dialogue phase. This was first introduced for the Dunkirk project, awarded to EDF, innogy, and Enbridge in 2019.