Negotiations underway for French offshore grid connections

FRANCE: The two consortia developing offshore wind projects in French waters, Eole Maritime France and Ailes Marines, have both begun the process of negotiating network connection agreements with grid operator, RTE.

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The consortia submitted initial applications, along with technical details, in May, as required under the terms of their tenders. RTE then had three months in which to draw up a "technical and financial proposal" covering the grid connection for each of the four offshore wind projects awarded last spring by the French energy ministry.

This was completed in late July for the three projects being developed by the EDF-led consortium, Eole Maritime France - Fécamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer and St-Nazaire. In mid-August, RTE completed a proposal for Ailes Marines' St-Brieuc project.

The consortia now have three months in which to review the proposals and to reach agreement with RTE.

While the consortia will pay for all of the cabling, from the turbines to the relevant onshore terminal, they are only responsible for installing the interarray cables that link the turbines with each other and to the offshore substation. RTE is responsible for installation of the export cables running from each project’s offshore substation to shore.

In April, the French government added the four projects to an existing waiting list for grid connection. It estimates that the projects should be connected within six years of RTE and the consortia reaching agreement.

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