French independent Poweo looks at 150 MW project

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Poweo, France's largest independent electricity and gas supplier, is eyeing offshore wind as part of its strategy to generate 25% of its output from renewable sources. The company is studying the feasibility of up to 150 MW off the north coast of Brittany in the Bay of St-Brieuc. The location had already been identified by Espace Eolien Développement, a wind project developer and consultancy which Poweo bought last year. Initial plans envisage some 30, 5 MW turbines about 12-15 kilometres offshore for completion in 2013 at the earliest. Water depths at the site are no more than 30 metres and the area boasts Brittany's second best offshore wind resource. It is also the centre of rich fishing grounds, however, and local fishermen have already expressed their opposition. Poweo has been holding talks and says it will not go ahead without the fishermen's agreement. In case negotiations prove too difficult, the company is also looking at other sites. Brittany is one of France's more organised regions for energy planning. It aims to generate 23% of its energy needs locally by 2020, excluding transport. Last year it announced a target of 1000 MW of onshore wind power by 2010, 500 MW offshore by 2015 and 1000 MW offshore by 2020. At the end of 2007, Brittany had over 200 MW turning in the region, all onshore, and nearly 500 MW in the permitting process. Poweo currently has 41 MW installed wind capacity in France and a pipeline of renewable energy projects totalling 1200 MW.

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