France deep water wind sites located

FRANCE: The French Wind Energy Association (FEE) has identified large areas technically suitable for fixed and floating turbines off France's Atlantic coast (see map).

FEE worked in cooperation with the energy ministry as part of a move to improve the planning process for offshore wind and support the country's emerging industrial sector.

The zones, off the coast of the Pays-de-la-Loire region, will now be discussed with the regional authorities, the state and other interested parties.

They will then be refined according to factors such as available wind resource, seabed conditions, geology and ease of grid connection. FEE hopes that other regions will follow suit.

"This zoning work is key," said FEE's offshore commission spokesman Jean-François Petit. "The earlier we identify favourable areas, the better the expectations and needs of all users of the sea will be met, the better the projects that will then be developed and the less they will cost."

At the end of 2013, French environment minister Philippe Martin called on industrial and energy companies to submit technical solutions and financial plans for the development of floating wind energy in the mid-term.

Submissions must be received by 10 March and, unusually, can be made in English. According to various studies, France could generate up to 200TWh a year from floating turbines operating for 3,000-4,000 hours a year.

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