French government to promote floating turbine research

FRANCE: French environment minister Philippe Martin last week outlined plans for the deployment of floating wind turbines off the coast of France in the "mid-term" .

The 2MW Vertiwind project is one of a number of trials to be deployed off the French coast
The 2MW Vertiwind project is one of a number of trials to be deployed off the French coast

The government will call on interested parties to outline their technical and financial proposals "in the coming days", Martin said. This will allow the government to clarify the technical and economic constraints to be taken into account. He did not give a precise timetable for the initiative.

The Centre for Engineering Design and the Centre for Marine and River Engineering will evaluate the resource and identify the most favourable zones based on these technical and economic criteria.

At the same time, grid operator RTE will determine the conditions for grid connection of floating turbines, outline work required on the transmission network and draw up an estimated timetable. Meanwhile, the regional authorities will consult with concerned parties and identify areas suitable for pilot projects.

The government will simultaneously work to reinforce the regulatory framework and define the fiscal framework to allow the operation of projects in the exclusive economic zone.

However, there was no mention of a tender for floating turbines in 2015, as indicated by President François Hollande in October.

According to various studies, France could generate up to 200TWh/year from floating turbines operating for 3,000-4,000 hours a year, especially off Normandy and Brittany and in the Mediterranean.

Various prototypes are already in the works. Winflo plans to install a demonstration turbine next summer, followed by Vertiwind and Ideol in 2015.

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