EIB commits €450 million to French offshore wind farm

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has decided to shore up the 497MW Fécamp offshore wind farm under development off north-west France by providing one quarter of the total financing.

Ideol's 2MW Floatgen test turbine is still the only operating offshore capacity in French waters (pic: Ideol/Valery Joncheray)
Ideol's 2MW Floatgen test turbine is still the only operating offshore capacity in French waters (pic: Ideol/Valery Joncheray)

The investment marks a pivotal moment in the EIB's mission to become the EU's "climate bank", and is the first time it has provided financial backing to a French offshore wind farm it stated. 

Located 13km off the coast of Normandy, the 71-turbine 497MW Hautes Falaises - Fécamp Hautes Falaises - Fécamp (497MW) Offshoreoff Fécamp, Normandy, France, Europe Click to see full details project is being developed by a consortium made up of EDF Renewables, Enbridge and Wpd.

Last year, France's Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, gave Fécamp the green light quashing a string of legal challenges that stretched back to 2012.

In total, Fécamp will cost €2 billion and is now expected to go online by 2023, it was announced last week.

The EU’s money has been allocated as part of the bank’s European Fund for Strategic Investments, also known as the Juncker Plan.

According to the EIB press report, the wind farm will supply enough electricity to satisfy the needs of 770,000 people and create around 100 permanent jobs in maintenance at the nearby port. 

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) announced last year that it would build an industrial offshore wind complex at the Port of Le Havre to produce blades, generators and nacelles for the 8MW and 7MW turbines of Fécamp and other offshore wind projects at Courseulles, Saint-Brieuc, Dieppe-Le Tréport and Yeu Noirmoutier.

Although the EIB has financed offshore wind projects in the EU before, this is the first time it has backing a project in France. 

The investment has been made to reinforce the climate objectives set by the bank’s shareholders in November 2019, the EIB’s vice-president Ambroise Fayolle explained.

Fayolle believes financing the Fécamp project marks “an important milestone” on the organisation’s journey to becoming the EU climate bank.

He added: “Like other innovative projects that we are financing elsewhere in Europe, it consolidates our general expertise in fixed and floating offshore wind turbines.” 

The European economy commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni, said the project demonstrated what could be achieved under the European green deal. It also marked another step towards the EU’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, he added.

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