'Final and definitive decision' backs France's first offshore site

France's supreme administrative court has approved an operating permit for EDF Renewables and Enbridge's 480MW Saint-Nazaire project, set to become the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

The 480MW Saint-Nazaire project is due to comprise 80 of GE's Haliade-150 6MW turbines (above)
The 480MW Saint-Nazaire project is due to comprise 80 of GE's Haliade-150 6MW turbines (above)

All the administrative permits required for the 480MW project’s construction and commissioning have now been secured, the developers stated. 

Éolien Maritime France (EMF) — the 50:50 joint venture of EDF Renewables and Enbridge — said the approval enables them to make progress with the project financing before making a final investment decision on the project. 

It is due to be commissioned in 2022, the project partners added.

EDF Renewables CEO Bruno Bensasson said the court's decision was a "ringing endorsement". 

EMF — then a joint venture of EDF and Ørsted — secured capacity for three projects in France’s first offshore wind tender in 2012 but legal challenges launched in 2016 caused delays.

Tariffs for the French projects were renegotiated and reduced in 2018, saving them from cancellation.

An EDF Renewables spokeswoman told Windpower Monthly the permit was a "final and definitive decision", indicating no further delays or appeals can be lodged on the regulatory side.

GE is in line to supply its 6MW Haliade model for Saint-Nazaire.

The US manufacturer pulled out of the deal to supply all three wind farms in April 2019, stating that "excessive delays" had "significantly impacted the financial characteristics" of the projects.

However, GE also signed a memorandum of understanding with EMF to provide and service Haliade 150-6MW turbines to whichever of the three projects was first "to be cleared of any legal recourse".

After the court’s approval of the operating permit, the manufacturer said: "GE remains committed to execute one offshore wind project and our team in Saint-Nazaire will move forward with the assembly of the Haliade-150 6MW once Éolien Maritime France reaches financial close and issues the notice-to-proceed."

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