France offshore wind
The nacelles and blades used for the project will be manufactured at Siemens Gamesa's offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant in Le Havre, France. Image credit: Siemens Gamesa

French utility Electricite de France SA (EDF) has finalised funding for a €2 billion ($2.23 million) offshore wind project, along with its German and Canadian partners, Enbridge Inc. and Wpd AG, thereby allowing construction of the Fecamp wind farm in the English Channel to begin.

The partners plan to commission the 500MW project in 2023, with a 20-year offtake agreement signed with the French government in 2018.

EDF and Enbridge each own a 35% share of the project, with the remaining minority share held by Wpd.

The power generated by the Fecamp wind farm will be sufficient to meet the annual electricity requirements of 770,000 people, according to the partners, with the facility powered by 71 7MW Siemens Games offshore turbines.

France is reportedly accelerating investment in offshore wind following drops in construction pricing, and lags behind counterparts in Western Europe including Germany, the U.K., and Denmark.

Development in 2019 throughout Europe focussed predominantly on onshore wind, the leaders in 2019 being the United Kingdom (2.4GW, both onshore and offshore) followed by Spain (2.3GW, all onshore), then Germany (2.2GW in both onshore and offshore development), Sweden (1.6GW, all onshore) and France (1.3 GW, also onshore).

According to a forecast report by industry body WindEurope released in February,  development in 2019 was off-track to meeting the requirements of the European Commission’s Green Deal.

According to Bloomberg, French projects have been delayed by legal proceedings from opponents, levelling criticisms of costs and environmental impacts.

“These large-scale projects fit with EDF’s strategy, under which it aims to double its renewable energy capacity worldwide between 2015 and 2030 to 50 GW net,” said EDF Renewables Chief Executive Officer Bruno Bensasson in the statement.