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Around the world with Team Norway: collaboration on offshore wind is flourishing in France

France’s offshore wind market has seen a significant acceleration in recent years. Several wind farms are now completed, with many more in development or under construction. Norway has emerged as a key player in France’s offshore wind sector, leveraging its extensive expertise. Published 3 Jul 2024 (updated 8 Jul 2024) · 3 min read
Three offshore vessels manouvering Equinor floating offshore wind turbine.

“Norway’s involvement in France’s offshore wind market is welcome due to its advanced offshore technology and marine operations capabilities,” states Guillaume Bonnesoeur, Senior Business Developer at Innovation Norway’s office in France.

The French government is giving high priority to offshore wind in the country’s future energy mix. There are several ongoing tenders for wind farms, a sign that the rapid growth in offshore wind in recent years will continue.

“French energy policymakers have set ambitious targets for the country, aiming for 18 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035 and 45 GW by 2050,” he says.

France’s unique geography one of the world’s best for offshore wind development

France’s extensive coastline offers significant advantages for the offshore wind industry. The country’s geographical diversity allows for both bottom-fixed and floating wind turbines, a versatility not every country can boast of.

“Its geostrategic location positions France as a potential hub for exporting offshore wind technology and expertise to both northern and southern Europe,” he says.

“Manufacturing plants in Normandy (northwestern coast) and Pays de la Loire (western coast), like those operated by Siemens Gamesa and GE Vernova, further bolster this export potential,” explains Bonnesoeur, who helps Norwegian companies to navigate the French offshore wind market and elsewhere when necessary.

In the north of France, including the English Channel, the shallow waters are ideal for bottom-fixed offshore wind farms. Conversely, the deep waters in the south are suitable only for floating wind turbines. The waters along the western coast, meanwhile, vary in depth, supporting both types of installations.

Norwegian experience in offshore oil and gas has translated into valuable assets for the French offshore wind market, particularly in offshore installation and maintenance vessels.

Guillaume Bonnesoeur

Senior Business Developer, Innovation Norway

Floating wind underway in France

Norway’s Equinor has installed more floating wind turbines than any other developer in the world, and the Norwegian supply chain also has a lot to offer the emerging French offshore wind industry.

The pilot floating wind farm Provence Grand Large was developed by the French energy company EDF, the biggest electricity producer in the world, and completed in 2023. The last of the three floating turbines was installed in October 2023 in what is the first floating wind farm in the Mediterranean Sea.

Meanwhile, the tender for France’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm, known as AO5, was awarded in May 2024. The wind farm will be located off the coast of Southern Brittany, and commissioning is expected by 2031. With a projected capacity of approximately 250 MW, this floating wind farm will mark a significant milestone in France’s offshore wind energy development when it comes online.

Three men in bright yellow jackets and blue helmets installing an offshore wind jacket
Norway and France are collaborating on offshore wind and other renewable energies.

Franco-Norwegian cooperation in renewable energies speeding up the green transition

In January 2024, a strategic partnership was signed between Norway and France at the Green Industry Forum to enhance the existing dialogue and cooperation on the green industrial transition, including a focus on renewable energy. This partnership acknowledges the complementary competencies and know-how of both countries.

“Norwegian experience in offshore oil and gas has translated into valuable assets for the French offshore wind market, particularly in offshore installation and maintenance vessels. For example, the Norwegian vessel supplier Edda Wind has won a five-year contract for the maintenance of the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm,” says Bonnesoeur.

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Formalised cooperation is also happening at the corporate level. For example, the Norwegian company Deep Wind Offshore has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with EDF Renewables, a subsidiary of the EDF group, to submit a tender for the development of the Utsira Nord commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the 2025 auction round in Norway. This partnership leverages the companies’ extensive experience from the offshore and maritime industries and development and operation of large-scale industrial projects internationally.

On a smaller scale, the Norwegian Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) provider Origo Solutions and the French engineering and technology company Technip Energies signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2022.

“These collaborations are not only boosting the development of offshore wind projects but are also enhancing local industrial networks. In another example of successful cooperation, the Norwegian companies Axess and BOA contributed to the construction of the Provence Grand Large pilot floating wind farm in the Mediterranean Sea,” concludes Guillaume Bonnesoeur.

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