French independent offshore wind firm, Nass & Wind Offshore, is looking to develop a large portfolio of offshore wind projects in French waters. On the back of its success in France’s first offshore wind tender, the company aims to win additional development rights during the upcoming, second tender round.
Nass & Wind is involved in France’s first floating offshore demonstration project, the 1MW Winflo pilot, in partnership with French defence and shipping firm, DCNS. Also supporting the project is InfreMer, the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea.
A floating platform mounted with a 1MW turbine will be installed off France’s Atlantic coast in 2013. The demonstration will last 12-18 months. Provided it goes well, a larger pilot featuring five or six turbines will be installed, Xavier Ferrey, Nass & Wind communications director, told Windpower Offshore.
The 480MW Saint Nazaire fixed-foundations offshore project is also progressing, after an EDF-led consortium comprising Nass & Wind was granted permission to proceed with it earlier this year. Detailed environmental, meteorological and financial studies are ongoing, ahead of documents being submitted to the maritime authority.
Nass & Wind was the original developer of the Saint Nazaire site and has been working up the project since 2008.
After receiving preliminary regulatory approval last spring, all four French offshore projects must assess their potential impacts in a holistic manner. Since the end of 2011, noted Ferrey, impact assessment regulations have required developers to consider a project’s full range of impacts and how they interact with each other.
Nass & Wind was disappointed that the consortium did not win the right to proceed with the Saint Brieuc project, on which it had also been working for some years. Development rights for Saint Brieuc went to the joint venture formed by Iberdrola and Eole-RES. "Technically, our bid was better," said Ferrey.
Nass & Wind is now preparing for the French government’s second offshore wind tender, although there is confusion about how and when the energy ministry will move forward with this next round.
"We are waiting for the government to announce which zones will be available. The new government needs some more time," acknowledged Ferrey. He confirmed that Nass & Wind is investigating opportunities in waters off Île d’Yeu as well as other locations.
The second tender was originally planned for the first half of 2012, but has been officially rescheduled for late this year. Many expect a further delay to early 2013.
It is not yet clear how much pre-tender information developers such as Nass & Wind will be expected to provide to the French energy ministry about the sea areas they are eyeing up. Given the substantial number of new staff at the ministry, developers may be required to provide considerable guidance on potential development zones.
With so much confusion about the second tender, Nass & Wind’s discussions with energy utilities and large industrial firms about joining forces to bid on new offshore opportunities have not yet progressed very far.
Having partnered with EDF, Dong and Alstom for the first-tender projects, employee-owned Nass & Wind says it is free to agree second-tender deals with other parties.