Dunkirk offshore

Studies are underway into at least three potential wind plant sites off the French coast for offshore wind power stations. The first to be developed will most likely be a 50 MW plant five kilometres from Dunkirk. "A first calculation gives us 3300 megawatt of accessible potential, with 12,000 gigawatt hours of possible production," according to Bruno Frimat of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Regional Council, a participant at last month's national wind energy conference in Brest.

"We hope the first share of a large 50 MW plant will be proposed for the national tender program as soon as the last day of April next year," he said. Current research is looking into the potential impact of a wind farm on bird life and fishing, the sea floor, seals and radar signals. Water depths at the site under consideration range between zero and 20 metres. According to one consultant, offshore construction equipment is scarce in France but can be found in the Netherlands.

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