The region takes action to promote offshore wind farms on an international scale

The region takes action to promote offshore wind farms on an international scale
28 March 2017 / Créez votre entreprise , Implantez, Générale, Energies

On March 14, 2017, at the Palais de la Bourse in Marseille, the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIMP), the Aix-Marseille Metropolitan Authority and Provence Promotion invited foreign companies to learn about what makes the region so attractive for floating offshore wind farms. The event was organized ahead of FOWT 2017, the largest worldwide gathering of experts in the sector which took place in Marseille thanks to the efforts of the CCIMP and the Mer Méditerranée competitive cluster in partnership with France Energie Eolienne (FEE). More than 130 participants, including Japanese and Norwegian delegations, attended an array of expert presentations on the industry in the Aix-Marseilles Provence metropolitan area. SMEs, industrial firms and local governments closed out the evening with discussions about deploying this technology to drive the energy transition.

The goals of the evening function on March 14 at the Palais de la Bourse in Marseille were to showcase the know-how of local companies and promote the region's potential in floating offshore wind energy to foreign companies.

Because there were many professionals on hand for the FOWT 2017, this side event brought together the main stakeholders in the industry with companies of various origins in order to encourage business relations. In addition to Japan and Norway, England, the Netherlands and Germany were also represented.

During a round table, the Marseille Port Authority, EDF Energies Nouvelles, the start-up La Ciotat Ideol and Provence Promotion shined a spotlight on the emerging expertise in the realm of floating offshore wind farms in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan area.

Maurice Wolff, Vice-President of the CCIMP for Industries and Major Metropolitan Projects, stressed the importance of floating offshore wind energy for the region's economic development. "This is a new sector of excellence that shows the innovative potential of Aix-Marseille-Provence and underpins the energy transition in our region. Helping it to advance means building tomorrow's industry today! It is a field with international scope and tremendous business opportunities."

Bardot Group, which was selected by Nexans and Statoil to equip the first Hywind floating wind field off the coast of Scotland, and Ideol, which built "Floatgen", the first offshore wind turbine in France and which just signed new partnerships with Ireland, attest to the ability of the region's firms to compete in the international race.

"We won our first export contract in 2015 with Japan. The Japanese government, which had already seen the results produced by four floating wind turbines, put its trust in us because it believed that our innovative Damping Pool technology had the best chances to succeed on the market. We just began building our first demonstrator for a production capacity of 3 MW," says Bruno Geschier, Sales and Marketing Manager at Ideol, pointing out that securing this contract enabled the company to recruit more than 20 highly skilled workers at its headquarters in La Ciotat.

Playing up complementary fields of knowledge

If the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolitan area is now succeeding in the international offshore wind farm market, it is thanks to the efforts of innovative R&D companies like Ideol, Powersea and Principle Power and the involvement of institutions and local communities (Mer Méditerranée cluster, the regional government, DREAL, La Direccte, etc.). But there are other advantages, such as complementary areas of expertise, that boost the industry's appeal to investors.

Related functions, such as heavy lift transportation which Daher provides as part of ITER, the Power-to-Gas energy storage at the Jupiter 1000 demonstrator on the Piicto site in Fos or the project sponsored by Team Henri-Fabre to make the region a center of excellence in mechanics, materials and industrial processes, are all sources of opportunities for companies in the sector.

In the future, the goal will be to find the best synergies to make the offshore wind farm installation operational and competitive. The launch of the "Provence Grand Large" project, which won the competition organized by ADEME off the coast of the Gulf of Fos, will be an important step for the region. 3 wind turbines in the "Faraman" area will undergo pre-industrial testing. The economic outlook in terms of value added and job creation is promising for an estimated investment of €200 million.