Wind farms at sea: projects in France arouse the anger of fishermen, “it is not compatible with our profession”

In Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), thick yellow poles emerge from the blue waters, a dozen kilometers from the coast. “You have all the foundations of the north-eastern quarter of the project that are installed in this sector., explains Olivier de La Laurencie, project director for EDF Renouvelables. There are about twenty of them. And on our forward port side, you have a ship called the Olympic Triton, which is the ship that comes to do the finishing work after the inter-wind cables have been installed. ”

The first wind turbines will be running from spring 2022 and will be around 200 meters high. We will see them about ten kilometers around.

>> Wind farms at sea: three questions on projects in France and the resistance they arouse

The big advantage of wind turbines at sea is the sea winds: stronger, more regular. They can produce up to twice as much electricity as the same ones on land. “We’re going to need to produce a lot more carbon-free electricity, estimates Cédric Le Bousse, director of marine energies at EDF Renouvelables. Why ? Because we are going to have a transfer between carbon-based final energies and carbon-free electricity. We think in particular of petroleum for cars which will be transformed into electricity for electric cars. So + 40% carbon-free electricity by 2050. It’s absolutely phenomenal! “

“We need all the energies and off-shore wind power is one of these solutions.”

Cédric Le Bousse, director of marine energies at EDF Renouvelables

to franceinfo

At the end of 2022, the Saint-Nazaire wind turbines will produce the electricity consumption of 700,000 inhabitants, or 480 MW.

A second park is under construction, in the bay of Saint-Brieuc. A project of sixty wind turbines, launched more than ten years ago. Foundation drilling began five months ago. And in the bay, famous for its scallops, the fishermen are leading the way.

In the port of Erquy, Patrice Piquet, owner of Réfractaire, is preparing his boat for the scallop, which opens on Monday October 4. “At the moment, those who are trawling, for example, catch 60% less fish, because of the boreholes because it makes a lot of noise., he explains. There are about 200 decibels of impact in the sea, so it’s like they’re in a big nightclub 24 hours a day, what. “

“The wind farm has eaten my life away. We can’t take it anymore, we want their heads!”

Patrice Piquet, fisherman

to franceinfo

“For us fishermen, it is not compatible with our profession and with the management we have of this bay of Saint-Brieuc, believes Alain Coudray, president of the Côtes-d’Armor fisheries committee, who has participated in the discussions from the start. From here to the tip of Brittany, I don’t see many places where you can put wind turbines without risking danger. “

Patrice Piquet, owner of Réfractaire, in the port of Erquy, in September 2021 (GREGOIRE LECALOT / RADIO FRANCE)

In Saint-Brieuc, the Spanish operator Iberdrola and its French subsidiary Ailes Marines won the tender. Emmanuel Rollin, director of marine energies for Iberdrola France, notes that the dialogue is blocked with the fishermen, but he wants to be reassuring on the Saint-Jacques. “The spatial footprint of the park represents only 1.5% of the annual scallop catches so it is quite negligible, he assures. Then, everything has been planned so that we can fish in the park. So the alignment of the wind turbines, the spacing between the wind turbines, the fact that the cables are buried will allow fishing. The last aspect is that, in effect, the park area will be closed at the height of the construction phase of the park and there there are financial compensations that are provided in the event of loss of income for the fishermen. ” The fishermen reply that they do not want to take checks but fish.

So what is the future for offshore wind turbines? The government has launched eight offshore wind farm projects fixed to the seabed: Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Brieuc, but also Dunkirk (North), Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), Fécamp (Seine-Maritime), Courseulles-sur-Mer (Calvados), Île d’Yeu (Vendée) and the latest in front of Île d’Oléron (Charente-Maritime).

Commissioning target: 2028, for around 4,000 MW, the equivalent of four to five nuclear reactors, which will still leave us far behind Germany or the United Kingdom, which already has 10,000 MW installed. But the protest is progressing at the same time: demonstrations took place last week in Normandy or Dunkirk. And as for onshore wind power, the subject takes a political turn as the presidential election approaches.

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