RWE and Valorem to target France's Oléron offshore wind tender

German utility RWE has formed a partnership with French energy firm Valorem to bid for a roughly 1GW offshore wind farm in France’s ongoing tender. 

France's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm at Saint-Nazaire (pic credit: Sebastien Salom-Gomi/AFP via Getty Images)

The pair hope to build the wind farm using fixed-bottom foundations in the designated maritime zone, 40km from the coast of Oléron island in France’s Bay of Biscay. 

The wind farm would be built in a 180km2 maritime area with water depths of around 60 metres, outside of the nearby marine natural park. 

France announced plans to auction a roughly 1GW offshore wind farm off Oléron in 2020, with a price target of around €60/MWh. 

The tender was officially launched last October. Mounting economic challenges impacting the offshore wind industry since the auction was announced in 2020 – including rising costs, supply chain disruptions and higher interest rates – could affect final bid prices. 

France’s energy regulator – Commission de régulation de l’énergie – is expected to choose a winning bid in 2024.

If approved, the project could be fully online in 2032 or 2033. 

France commissioned its first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, the 480MW Saint-Nazaire project off the Atlantic coast, in November 2022. 

Offshore wind projects in the country have faced opposition including direct action protests and legal challenges from fishermen who work on the country’s west coast targeted for offshore wind development. 

RWE added that it is pursuing multiple possibilities to develop offshore wind in France, which also include the tender for a project off the Normandy coast, and tenders for floating wind turbine projects south of the Bretagne coast and off the Mediterranean coast.