Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm
Brittany is prone to strong winds and high tides, which have shaped the region's landscape, economy and way of life. With a view to leveraging the region's full energy potential, the company designed the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm: External link, opens in new window. the first large-scale offshore wind farm in Brittany and one of the first in France to obtain all the necessary government permits for its construction and operation.
With an investment of 2.4 billion euros it is estimated that, once commercialisation begins in 2023, it will produce 1,820 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, which will supply energy to 835,000 people.
This will be possible thanks to a total installed capacity of 496 megawatts (MW) from 62 turbines each generating 8 MW of power, which will cover a surface area of 75 km2 located some 16 km off the French coast.
The wind farm is being built in collaboration with the French companies RES and Caisse des Dépôts, both part of the Ailes Marines consortium owned by Iberdrola following the acquisition of all its shares.
Once operational it will become the company's fourth installation of this type, after West of Duddon Sands External link, opens in new window. in the Irish Sea; Wikinger, in the Baltic Sea; and East Anglia ONE, one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world, located in the south of the North Sea.
Location of the project
Evolution of the work
Work has already started and will continue for three years. The first phase, carried out from 3 May to 31 October 2021, was underway in the northern part — so that fishing activities can continue in the southern part — where five specific areas have been identified to be worked on in rotation.
On 1 November 2021 Ailes Marines announced the end of the first phase of construction operations with the ship AEOLUS ready to leave the area and arrive at its home port. In March 2022, construction work on the wind farm will resume, and the AEOLUS ship itself will be responsible for installing the piles and foundations for the wind turbines. It will work in the area without interruption during 2022 and 2023. The wind farm will come into operation at the end of 2023.
In 2020, the analysis of the technical and environmental conditions was completed, thanks to the installation of three wind measuring systems, in the area where the farm is situated, which spent two years recording the wind power potential of the area using the LIDAR system (Laser Imaging Detection And Ranging). This system uses laser technology to accurately determine the prevailing wind direction and identify the optimal orientation of the wind turbines in order to get the best possible energy performance.
Ailes Marines also presented the Management and Monitoring Committee with the results of the environmental studies External link, opens in new window. which show that the sound waves generated by drilling are compatible with the normal life cycle of the species of fish studied. As a result of these studies, the company has decided to abandon the pile-driving technique in favour of the drilling method for installing the piles.
In early July 2023, we take a huge step in the commissioning of Saint-Brieuc with the connection of the first wind turbines to the French grid, producing clean energy through an offshore wind farm for the first time in Brittany's history. The plan now is that the turbines will gradually be connected to the grid until the 62 wind turbines of the park are fully operational. With this, the territory of Côtes-d'Armor (600,000 inhabitants) becomes a positive energy municipality, generating more electricity than it consumes.
Saint-Brieuc's first wind turbines start producing electricity
Saint-Brieuc bears the seal of Spain, since the jackets — (the platforms that support the offshore turbines) and the piles are being built and assembled entirely by Navantia-Windar, in Fene (A Coruña), where a 1,600 tonne caterpillar crane has been installed for the final assembly, and Avilés (Asturias), respectively.
At €350 m this is the biggest offshore wind contract in the history of the shipyard, supporting over 2,000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect ones.
The assembly work for the foundations began after the arrival of the structural tubes at the ports of Ferrol and Brest. The final assembly of all the component parts is being carried out at the Galician shipyard facilities.
The 207-metre-tall turbines are manufactured by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE). They are equipped with the latest direct-drive technology and their blades, almost 82 metros long, offer an area 18 % bigger than the previous model improving the annual energy production by 20 % compared to their predecessors.
The assembly of the towers is being carried out on the new polder at the Port of Brest and entails the creation of new industrial capacity funded to the tune of 11.8 million euros. The construction of this new plant started at he beginning of 2022, and its commissioning was completed at the end of the same year.
Iberdrola starts the transfer to France of the offshore wind platforms built by Navantia-Windar for the Saint-Brieuc wind farm
The offshore substation was successfully completed in July 2022, being manufactured in Belgium by a joint venture between Smulder (a subsidiary of Eiffage Metal) and Equans, with former carrying out the engineering and construction of both the foundations and the platform that houses the transformers and other electrical gear, while the latter carried out their assembly and commissioning.
The structure supporting this substation comprises a foundation (jacket) 63 metres high and weighing 1,630 tonnes, and a platform 55 m long, 31 m wide and 23 m high, weighing approximately 3,400 tonnes. Over the course of 2022, Ailes Marines instaled the piles, cables and the electrical substation. The offshore construction work will be staggered over the course of 2023 so that all the industrial resources are in place and the wind farm is fully operational by the end of that year.
Iberdrola has awarded GE Renewable Energy Grid Solutions the supply and installation of the major electrical equipment for the substation. The company was. responsible for the design, construction, installation and commissioning of the high-voltage electrical equipment, as well as the control and protection system for the substation. To do this, it designed and manufactured the 72.5 kV and 225 kV gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) at its factory in Aix-les-Bains (France).
Transport and installation
For its part, the Dutch maritime services company Van Oord is handling the transport and installation of the 62 jackets and the offshore substation. Van Oord started work on the open sea in 2021 with the installation of the anchor bolts, for which it deployed its high seas support boat, Aeolus, specifically designed for the construction of offshore wind farms, which was assisted by a second vessel from 2022.
As for the undersea cabling connection systems, they are provided by Prysmian Group, world leaders in the business of power cabling systems and telecommunications with whom Iberdrola has already worked on Wikinger and Vineyard Wind, which is installing and commissioning 90 km of high-voltage 66 kV AC connection cables and three hubs with XLPE insulation.
Following tests carried out in summer 2020, Ailes Marines confirmed the undergrounding of all cables between the wind turbines, which is a giant step forward for navigational safety and for the continuation of fishing activity within the park. Delivery and commissioning are scheduled for December 2023.
Communication and coordination
A consortium led by Atos - in partnership with SeaRenergy, a leader in engineering, marine solutions, QHSE and personnel services for the offshore wind industry - will be responsible for implementing critical communication solutions and ensuring maritime coordination activities.
Specifically, a maritime coordination centre will be set up in the coastal city of Pleudaniel (France) to coordinate, monitor and document all the movements in and around the construction area, 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the construction phase. They will also establish a unified critical communications platform that will enable the helicopters, ships and operational teams working on the offshore wind farm to communicate with each other and with the coordination centre, within and around the park.
Both systems will be retained after the construction phase and will support the wind farm throughout the operational phase, when all 62 turbines are working.
In addition, in order to inform inhabitants, in particularly sea users, Ailes Marines provided an online information service regarding the works and established compensation measures for fishermen whose activity may be affected during the construction phase.
Iberdrola, world leader in renewable energies
At Iberdrola, we decided to commit to renewable energies more than two decades ago as a fundamental pillar on which to build our safe, clean and competitive business model. Thanks to this vision, we are today world leaders in renewable energies, reaching 41,246 MW of renewables in operation by the end of the first half of 2023.
This commitment is reflected in our record investment plan of €47 billion in the period 2023-2025, of which we will allocate 17,000 million euros to the renewables business. With these investments, we will increase our installed renewable capacity by 12,100 MW to 52,000 MW by 2025 —6,300 MW of photovoltaic, 3,100 MW of onshore wind, 1,800 MW of offshore, 700 MW of batteries and 200 MW of hydro.