New solution in renewable energy: floating offshore wind farms

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The European Investment Bank has announced the conclusion of three financing agreements (28.06.2022), with the support of the EU and guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, EFSI for installing three floating offshore wind farms off the French Mediterranean coast. These projects will help accelerate energy transition in France and foster procurement of a new generation of floating wind platforms in other member states as an additional source of renewables.

Offshore wind farms’ installation is based on a new and different innovative technology: all three floating wind turbines are anchored to the seabed by means of underwater cables. This innovation means that the turbines can be installed further away from the coast in areas where wind exposure is optimal, and also limits the ecological footprint of the projects.
These three technological “achievements” initiated by ADEME and co-financed by the EIB, have already provided crucial feedback for the future of the floating offshore wind industry, placing France at the forefront of this technology’s development.
All three projects are important both for France and the EU in general, as some of the EU member states are working hard presently to diversify energy sources and accelerate clean-energy transition.

Three projects: three options
Three wind farms’ facilities in the Mediterranean are the first floating offshore wind farms to be deployed in France, each using different innovative technologies:
First, the French public agency for ecological transition, i.e. ADEME’s project as part of the government’s Investment Programme for the Future. The EIB’s €50 million loan contributes to the design, development, construction, operation and maintenance of floating offshore wind project consisting of three Siemens Gamesa turbines with a total capacity of around 25 MW.
Second, a project supported by the European Investment Bank, EIB which has already financed several floating offshore wind farms in Europe; this wind farm will be installed more than 18 km off the coast of Narbonne in the Occitan region. It is being financed by about €85 million by the EIB and a guarantee from the European Commission’s EFSI.
The first two projects have had guarantees by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, EFSI – the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.
Third project with the EIB investments is supported by the European Commission and backed by the InnovFin EDP (energy demonstration projects) facility. This project consists of three 10 MW Vestas wind turbines installed on floats; it uses the Wind-Float technology developed by Principle Power which is already deployed on the EIB-funded Wind-Float Atlantic project in Portugal. Located more than 16 km off the coast of Leucate (Aude) and Le Barcarès (Pyrénées-Orientales) at a depth of 70 meters, this floating wind farm has secured €75 million in EIB financing.

The EIB’s progressive role
The EIB is already working with these partners to finance offshore wind farms in the Normandy region in Fécamp (71 wind turbines with a capacity of 497 MW) and Courseulles-sur-Mer (64 wind turbines with a capacity of 448 MW). As the European Union’s climate bank, the EIB’s role is to promote and support innovations such as floating offshore wind turbines that provide technological solutions to effectively combat global warming, acknowledged EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle. Through these high-quality projects in which leading public and private players join forces, the EIB is participating in the development of a French and European industrial sector at the forefront of marine renewable energy. For the EIB, investing in innovation and the fight against global warming is at the heart of its priorities and key to meeting the European Green Deal’s objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The EIB has a solid expertise in financing offshore wind turbines, both installed and floating, and more generally in renewable energies, which are major drivers for job creation. As early as in 2018, it provided €60 million in financing for the first continental European floating offshore wind project, WindFloat Atlantic, led by the Windplus Consortium (Ocean Winds, Repsol and Principle Power), off the coast of Portugal.
Since then, the EIB has demonstrated that its readiness to support the development of a new European industrial sector in the same way that it has supported the development of the land-based and offshore wind sector over the past 20 years, noted the Commission in its press-release.

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