France clears Fécamp and Courseulles

France's Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, has confirmed the final authorisations for the Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-Mer offshore wind projects.

A computer-generated image of what the Fécamp site would look like when built

The court rejected appeals lodged by associations challenging the right to occupy the public maritime.

Developer EDF Renewables and its partners Enbridge and Wpd can now "continue the development" of the two projects, the companies said.

The developers will focus first on taking St-Nazaire (480MW) — which was given final clearance last month — to financial close, while simultaneously completing various development steps for the Fécamp (498MW) and Courseulles-sur-Mer (450MW) installations, EDF Renewables explained.

All three projects were awarded in 2012, but have been held back by a series of legal challenges.


In a separate ruling, the Council of State also rejected appeals against the 496MW St-Brieuc offshore project lodged by thwarted bidder Nass&Wind and an environmental association.

Nass&Wind argued that the authorities failed to respect the tender conditions in awarding the project to Iberdrola-led consortium Ailes Marines, even though Nass&Wind (alongside partners EDF Renewables and Ørsted) submitted a lower bid.

The state admitted at the time it did not want to award all the projects to one group in order to spread the risk and maximise industrial benefits. Such a decision had not been allowed for in the selection procedure.

The court awarded Nass&Wind €2.5 million "in compensation for the damage caused by the irregularity of the tender procedure", while also ruling that the "procedural irregularity" did not affect the project itself.

"This excellent news ... reinforces the solidity of the project," Ailes Marines stated. Nevertheless, the project still faces four ongoing court cases.

In the meantime, development will continue "according to the announced programme, with start of construction in 2021 and commissioning in 2023", the consortium said.