The French Government has formally launched its first tender for a commercial-scale floating windfarm
The tender is for a 230-270-MW floating windfarm off the coast of Brittany in an area off Belle-Île and Île de Groix.
Although small in scale compared to many bottom-fixed projects that are being built, and essentially a pre-commercial scale project, it is an important step for the offshore wind industry in France.
The tender will be carried out in three phases. The first, the application selection phase, will now get underway. The second phase comprises ‘competitive dialogue’ and the third phase will include submission and selection of offers.
The closing date for submitting applications is 1 July 2021. Bidders can submit questions concerning the tender until 17 May 2021. Answers to questions will be made public and published on 31 May 2021.
Industry sources suggest construction of the Brittany floater could start in 2028. The windfarm could enter into operation in 2029, they say.
The French Government plans to organise three separate tenders for floating wind in 2021-2022, each of which will have capacity of around 250 MW.
The project in Brittany is the first. Others are planned in 2022 in suitable areas in the Mediterranean.
Compared to several other European countries, France has been extremely slow to begin building bottom-fixed offshore windfarms, but could leapfrog into pole position in the floating wind market with the Brittany project, assuming the selection process and construction progress as planned.
France also has plans for a number of small-scale demonstration floating wind projects.
In the UK, the Crown Estate recently commenced work to design and deliver a new leasing opportunity for early commercial-scale floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea.
The UK leasing process will focus on projects of approximately the same size as the French tender, circa 300 MW, which is up to three times larger than any rights previously awarded to floating wind in the UK.
The British plan is seen as an important first step towards delivering on the government’s target of 1 GW of floating wind by 2030.
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