Floating wind: Eolmed announces the FID of its 30MW French Mediterranean pilot project
Port-La Nouvelle, France, May 9, 2022 – Eolmed is proud to announce the FID of its multi-unit floating offshore wind project in the Mediterranean Sea. The pilot farm, one of the first three in France, will be commissioned in mid-2024. The Eolmed project brings together around Qair: TotalEnergies and BW Ideol, the supplier of the floating technology. This project, involving regional companies such as Matière for the construction of the floaters, and public and private financiers, demonstrates that regional and French industrial sovereignty is possible, and represents a major investment that will generate many local economic spin-offs.
Eolmed aims at being a pilot project on both technical and financial aspects. Its financing is not only one of the very first floating wind projects benefiting from non-recourse financing, it also echoes the same financial package one can observe throughout today’s French and European bottom-fixed wind projects. This creates a valuable return on experience for future commercial-scale projects.
This financing was materialized with the assistance of the European Investment Bank, whose experience played a key role during the negotiations and the setting up of the financing. The Banque Postale, BPCE Energeco and BPI France contribute as lenders while Natixis and La Banque Postale as hedging banks. Supported by the Future Investments Program (PIA) managed by ADEME, Eolmed also benefits from the expertise and support of its local partners deeply rooted in the Occitanie Region: the Agence Régionale Energie Climat Occitanie (AREC), the Crédit Agricole Languedoc Energies Nouvelles (CALEN), the Communauté d’agglomeration du Grand Narbonne, and the Amidéole company.
Advisory services were provided by Watson Farley William (legal), Noveo (hedging), Clifford Chance (legal), Mott MacDonald (research), Marsh (insurance) and KPMG (model audit).
The Eolmed wind project: a pilot floating farm unique in France
Developed by the independent power producer Qair, Eolmed is one of the first offshore floating wind pilot farm project in France. Its construction will start in autumn 2022. The farm will be installed at more than 18 km off the coast of Gruissan, respecting the coastal landscape and biodiversity. Three 10 MW wind turbines will be installed on BW Ideol steel floaters and connected to the grid by RTE.
Ecological and economic opportunities
With Eolmed, the public and private regional partners carry the ambition of a whole territory for the transition to renewable energies and the development of offshore wind power. Along with the Occitanie Regional Energy and Climate Agency (AREC), which has also been a shareholder in the project since 2017, Eolmed is directly in line with Occitanie’s ambition to become the 1st European positive energy region by 2050.
Eolmed should enable France to position itself as a key player in the construction and assembly of floating wind turbines. The objective is to create 20,000 jobs by 2035 at the national level, with at least 50% of the industrial components located in France or in Europe.
A pilot project “made in Occitanie” and supported by the government
Last March, the French government officially launched the calls for tender for the construction of 2 commercial floating wind farms in the Mediterranean, each with a capacity of 250 MW, equivalent to the domestic electricity consumption of about 1 million inhabitants. To accommodate the floating wind farms and create a new port hub in Port-La Nouvelle, the Société d’Économie Mixte à Opération Unique (SEMOP) Port La Nouvelle, which groups together the public and private partners responsible for the development, operation, management and development of the port of Port-la Nouvelle, is planning to extend its seaport. The Prime Minister has announced that the State will provide €32 million for the extension.
The Eolmed project will thus be able to rely on the know-how of the Occitanie Region, the port of Port-la Nouvelle positioning itself as a rear base for all maintenance operations for wind turbines installed at sea off the Languedoc coast.
“I am delighted to see Eolmed participating in the implementation of the French energy transition strategy, a realization made possible thanks to the support of all its partners. The achievement of such a milestone illustrates once again, after obtaining 2 GW of floating and fixed wind power in Scotland, the ambition of the Qair group in terms of offshore wind power and demonstrates that we are ready to become a player major player in the sector in Europe” declared Olivier Guiraud, Managing Director of Qair Marine.
“We are proud to contribute, through Eolmed, to the development of the French floating wind power sector, a highly promising segment to which TotalEnergies will bring its extensive experience in offshore industrial projects. Together with our partners, we have all the resources needed to meet the technological and financial challenges that will determine our future success” said Olivier Ternaud, Director of Offshore Wind at TotalEnergies.
“This new step confirms our position as a leader in floating offshore wind and our commitment to create value as close as possible to the offshore installation sites. We are once again demonstrating our unique ability to offer a steel or concrete solution as well as the relevance of our positioning as supplier of a proven floating wind technology AND as project co-developers. After securing nearly 1 GW in Scotland earlier this year, we are delighted to carry out this project with the support of our partners and to pursue our numerous projects in France and abroad” says Paul de la Guérivière of BW Ideol.