Questions & answers

Questions answers

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What is the energy context in the world and in France?

At the global level: the reality of global warming and resource depletion

Nearly 80% of global energy consumption (transport, industries, heating)* comes from fossil fuels such as oil or coal. However, according to the International Energy Agency, the depletion of reserves will be effective in 2050 for oil and by 2070 for gas.

Global warming is now a reality. It is linked to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. These are notably produced during the combustion of fossil fuels. If no proactive energy policy is put in place, the temperature of the Earth's surface could significantly increase. Under these conditions, it would increase from 1.8 to 4°C by 2100**.

* Source: IEA, Key world energy statistics, 2009
** Source: World Bank report, November 2012

The French situation: consumption which is stagnating, nuclear production in decline and wind power which is growing strongly

Since the 1990s, electricity consumption, corrected for weather hazards, has increased by more than half (1990: 300 TWh, 2019: 473 TWh).

Since 2010, we have seen a stagnation in electricity consumption, which can be explained in particular by the tertiarisation of the economy and the efforts made in energy efficiency.

In 2019, French electricity production amounted to 537.7 TWh. Down around 2% compared to 2018, it is the consequence of the numerous unavailability of nuclear groups, leading to a decline in electricity production in this sector (- 3.5%) and the reduction in original electricity production. hydraulic (-12.1%). The decline in hydraulic and nuclear production led to an increase in fossil fuel thermal production (+9.8%), despite a very sharp decline in the production of coal-fired power stations. At the same time, 2019 saw a very strong increase in electricity production from solar (+7.8%) and wind (+21.2%) sources.

Why offshore wind turbines?

Clean energy

Wind energy is considered a clean energy since its electrical production does not generate any greenhouse gases, effluent, waste or pollution of the environment. At the end of 2019, the cumulative wind power in service in France was 16.6 GW (16,600 MW). It covers the electrical needs of more than 7 million homes each year. In total, more than 1,450 wind farms are installed throughout France. They alone produced the equivalent of 6.3% of French electricity production (34.1 TWh).

What are the differences between onshore wind power and offshore wind power?

Off the coast, the wind is both stronger and more constant than inland. Compared to onshore wind power, offshore wind power offers greater electricity production capacity because it is possible to install more and larger wind turbines, therefore more powerful.

Offshore wind power must take into account the specificities of the marine environment. The challenges are multiple, particularly in the design of wind turbines, foundations and during the operational phase. These are therefore two modes of production based on a common resource: wind, but whose engineering presents significant differences.

A video by Jamy: the sorcerer's spirit which expressly cites the Dunkirk and Saint-Brieuc project.

See the video

Offshore wind potential

To date, only one offshore wind turbine has been installed in France. This is a floating wind turbine, a 2MW demonstrator located off the coast of Le Croisic.

Compared to its European neighbors, France is today very late in terms of offshore wind power. 5 countries account for more than 98% of the European offshore wind market (21,767 MW). These are the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom alone hosts almost half of European offshore wind capacity (9,945 MW). At the end of 2019, the total wind capacity installed in Europe was 22,069 MW.

European countries Offshore wind capacity installed in 2019 (MW) Total installed offshore wind capacity (MW)
United Kingdom 1 764 9 945
Germany 1 111 7 445
Denmark 374 1 703
Belgium 370 1 556
The Netherlands 1 118
TOTAL 21 767


However, France benefits from very favorable conditions for the development of offshore wind power:

  • 3,500 km of coastline and three well-oriented maritime frontages: Channel-North Sea, Atlantic, Mediterranean, the orientation of which is favorable to the installation of offshore wind farms.
  • Strong industrial know-how ready to be mobilized in the offshore wind sector (SGRE, Naventia, LM wind, GE),
  • A structuring of the sector through clusters (groups of companies and institutions in the same area of ​​expertise) and major competitiveness clusters such as Bretagne Pôle Naval in Lorient or Néopolia in Saint-Nazaire.
  • A strong capacity for innovation in new technologies.

Why did the French state select the bay of Saint-Brieuc?

Saint-Brieuc, a location defined by the French government in 2011

In 2011, the French government defined several zones for installing offshore wind turbines: 3 in Normandy, 1 in Pays de Loire and 1 in Brittany, that of the bay of Saint Brieuc. In these areas, the State then organized a call for tenders. Winner in April 2012 of this call for tenders for the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind farm project, Ailes Marines carried out all the studies required to develop a quality project. These studies were controlled and validated by decentralized State organizations and services. Ailes Marines obtained the  necessary regulatory authorizations for the construction and operation of the wind farm in April 2017. The Saint-Brieuc wind farm is located outside Natura 2000 zones and more than 16 km from the coast.

The bay of Saint-Brieuc is a hotspot  for  scallop fishing .  To preserve this activity, the wind farm was located outside the main scallop bed,  and moved 6 km to the  north to move away from the main  scallop fishing area

The company Ailes Marines SAS was named the winner of the call for tenders on April 23, 2012

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the State has committed itself to the path of energy transition (Grenelle de l'environnement in 2007, law on energy transition for green growth in 2015). It is in this context that the first offshore wind tenders were born. They follow a planning and consultation process put in place in all maritime metropolitan regions. The Saint-Brieuc area was one of the first 5 defined by the French state in 2011. The company Ailes Marines SAS was named the winner on April 23, 2012.

The specifications of the call for tenders set as the main objective the creation of a wind farm with a power of 480 to 500 MW. The project had to fall within a predefined perimeter of 180 km².

It is within this framework that Ailes Marines designed a low-impact project in a technical and environmental optimization approach based on the recommendations of specialists and local stakeholders.

A response to Breton energy dependence

Brittany is very energy dependent.

In 2019, Brittany consumed 22.6 TWh of electricity and produced around 4 TWh.

To cover all of its needs, Brittany imported around 19 TWh of electricity.

It makes strong use of interregional solidarity.

Indeed, its dependence is very strong, because Brittany imported more than 82% of the electricity it consumed.

Brittany’s energy and climate roadmap (Breizh Cop) pursues several objectives:

  • Control energy demand,
  • Develop renewable energies,
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Improve air quality,
  • Adapt the territory to climate change.

With 2730 km of coastline, the longest coastline in France, powerful currents, regular winds and the highest tides in Europe, Brittany has exceptional potential for testing, experimenting and exploiting the different sources of water. marine energy.

The Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind farm project is expected to find its place in this strategy. With 496 MW of installed capacity and 1,820 GWh of annual production, the project will cover around 8% of Breton energy consumption.

What is the consultation system?

More than 1,000 meetings have since been organized with stakeholders

For Ailes Marines , the success of the project is largely based on the appropriation of the issues making it possible to build a real territorial project. This is why, even before the publication of the State's call for tenders, in 2009, meetings took place locally with the stakeholders.

Since January 11, 2012, date of submission of the tender file to the CRE (Energy Regulatory Commission), Ailes Marines has continued and intensified its consultation actions with all the stakeholders in the territory (elected officials, stakeholders socio-economic, sea users, environmental and citizen associations) and has participated in numerous Brioch and Costa Rican sporting and cultural events (the Quinocéenne, Trail Glazig, Trail Traversée de labay, Rando tour, La Vaillante, Art Rock, Rock'n Toques, Photoreporter festival, marine painters exhibition, underwater photography festival, Gabier du Goélo, IUT regatta, multi 50 trophies, Brittany Cup of sailing clubs, Habitable Trophy 22, Solitaire du Figaro, Scallop Festival, AIGL Weekend, Engineering Sciences Olympiad, Breizh Transition Salon, Pro et Mer Salon, Science Festival, Trades Olympiad, conferences, interventions in schools, middle schools, high schools , Master etc.)

In total, Ailes Marines participated in nearly 1,300 meetings and events throughout the Briochin, Costa Rican and Breton territories.

It is on this local dialogue that the consortium relied to develop and define the Saint-Brieuc Bay offshore wind project.