France to prioritise Mediterranean floating projects

Marine renewable opportunities include R&D with Scotland

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Floating offshore wind should play a central role in a coordinated policy push, designed to ensure France develops a strong marine renewables economy, concludes a report from the country’s energy and economy ministries.

Unlike its North Sea neighbours, conventional ‘fixed-bottom’ offshore wind projects do not represent a large-scale opportunity for France, concludes the report. The French coastline is largely characterised by deep waters close to shore. With this in mind, the French government and its industrial sector are urged to prioritise the commercialisation of floating offshore wind, tidal and wave energy.

France’s Mediterranean waters are particularly well suited to floating offshore wind, says the report. The area does not have strong currents or swells, which are necessary for tidal and wave energy electricity generation.

A much simpler method of permitting marine renewable projects is needed, says the report. Other priorities should be the provision of laboratories for onshore equipment testing and the establishment of offshore test sites.

As recently reported by Windpower Offshore, France has a number of offshore floating projects already in the pipeline, both in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. It is far ahead of its European neighbours such as the UK, Germany and Denmark in terms of the speed with which it is moving toward offshore floating demonstration projects.

Collaboration with other countries is also important, and the report refers to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) currently being prepared that would see France and Scotland working together on marine renewables research and development.

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