BayWa re wins first commercial floating wind rod

First floating offshore wind project with a CfD contract

French waters earn a European record. On 15 May, France’s Minister Delegate for Energy, Roland Lescure, announced the results of the world’s first-ever commercial-scale floating wind auction. The operation put up a single 250 MW quota for construction off the coast of southern Brittany. And as the WindEurope industry association points out today, it is a milestone for this technology segment. At least at European level.

Currently the old continent houses only small pilot plants and demonstration projects equipped with floating wind turbines. In other words, the European offshore fleet remains firmly anchored to wind generators with fixed foundations, despite ambitious national planning. “The floating wind is here to stay“, commented Pierre Tardieu, Chief Policy Officer of WindEurope. “The demonstration projects worked. Now it’s time to move on to the large ones. The French auction represented a milestone in the history of floating wind technology, placing France among the leading countries” of the sector.

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The first commercial floating wind rod

The tender procedure was launched in April 2021 after a public debate organised by the CNDP Commission from 20 July to 21 December 2020, auctioning 250 MW of floating wind power. Ten candidates, selected by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), were then assembled based on their technical and financial capabilities. The winner? The consortium consisting of Elicio and BayWa re. “The bid proposed by the consortium […] amounts to €86.45/MWh and was selected after the CRE examined all the projects,” explains the French Ministry of Finance. “This price demonstrates the competitiveness of the floating wind industry and confirms France’s positioning as a leader in developing this technology, while three pilot parks between 25 and 30 MW are under construction in the Mediterranean and should be put into service between 2024 and 2025“.

The selection criteria should also be mentioned among the elements that made the auction interesting. And for the accuracy, those other than price. The offers of the candidates were, in fact, evaluated on several commitments, in particular on those relating to the recycling of the components of the wind turbines at the end of life, the contribution to a fund for the protection of biodiversity, the rate of recourse to small and medium-sized enterprises for the construction and operation of the plant and the use of the participatory investment for the project.

The Side Benefits of the First Commercial Scale Floating Wind Farm

In this case, the winning consortium undertook to entrust SMEs with a minimum 10% share of studies, component production and work on land and at sea. And an identical minimum percentage for maintenance and operation work. In addition, Elicio and BayWa re will devote at least 500,000 hours to the occupational integration of people in social or professional difficulty, collect a minimum of 10 million euros through crowdfunding or investment by local communities, will allocate at least EUR 20 million to the environment and the Biodiversity Fund.

According to BayWa re, Pennavel (this is the name of the project) should generate about 30% of the current production of renewable energy in Brittany, satisfying the electricity needs of over 450,000 inhabitants. “Pennavel – explains the company in a press release – will be the first commercial floating wind farm in the world to win a long-term Contract for Difference (CfD). The project benefits from a connection to the protected network with RTE, the French transmission system operator, which is responsible for transmission resources, including offshore substation and export cables”.

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