Detailed technical and financial studies are now underway for the fourth project - St-Brieuc - awarded development rights in April as part of France's first offshore wind tender. Results of the studies must be submitted to authorities by October next year.
Ailes Marines, the consortium comprising Iberdrola and Eole-RES, which was awarded permission to develop a 500MW project at St-Brieuc, has chosen In Vivo Environnement to carry out environmental impact studies. Phase one is due to start “in the coming weeks” and will last two weeks, Ailes Marines told Windpower Offshore.
Meanwhile, Belgian offshore specialist DEME Group, via its subsidiary GeoSea, will carry out geophysical and geotechnical studies. The geophysical survey began in late August and should be completed by early October, while the geotechnical study started the middle of this month for completion towards the end of October.
Among other things, these studies will be used to validate Ailes Marines' choice of jacket foundations and the jacket design. The consortium has signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with French construction group Eiffage and South Korean Marine Engineering firm STX to build the foundations.
Earlier this year, EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), which also bid for St-Brieuc but lost out to Ailes Marines, said it would use gravity-based foundations instead of jackets at the site, following preliminary studies indicating that the seabed is more friable than anticipated. EDF EN said that jacket foundations would take longer to install and cost more than traditional monopiles or gravity-based foundations.
At the time, Ailes Marines said it had taken account the friable nature of the sea bed and that its foundations “will be installed... so that they are perfectly anchored.” The consortium also argues that jacket foundations have a lower environmental impact.