Wales in France for floating offshore wind trade visit

An industry trade delegation to France has been learning about the scale and potential of floating wind in the Celtic Sea to revitalise port infrastructure and create supply chain opportunities.

Led by the Welsh government with the support of Floventis Energy, a joint venture between Cierco and SBM Offshore, 19 delegates from supply chain companies, ports and industry membership bodies took part in the fact-finding and trade mission to Fos-sur-Mer, SBM Offshore’s fabrication facility near Marseille that is currently assembling the floating wind platforms for Provence Grand Large, the first of France’s pilot floating wind farms.

The Provence Grand Large project is to be deployed approximately 30km from the platform assembly site in Fos-sur-Mer. The floating platforms have been designed and built by SBM Offshore. Floventis Energy was awarded the agreement for lease for the 200MW Llŷr developments by the Crown Estate in July 2021 subject to a Habitats Regulation Assessment.

The Celtic Sea is expected to play a key role, with 4GW of floating wind due to be deployed by 2035. It is estimated by the ORE Catapult, the offshore renewable energy innovation centre, that the first GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea could potentially deliver more than 3,000 jobs and £682 million in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall by 2030. A further 17,000 UK jobs generating £33.6 billion for the UK economy could be generated by 2050.

Vaughan Gething, Economy Minister for Wales, said: “Floating wind is critical to meeting our ambitious net-zero emission targets. With enormous potential to be a core technology for reaching our climate goals, it will provide energy security and could help balance the UK’s energy system.

“Independent studies have suggested there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland. Floating wind will also provide new low-carbon supply chain opportunities, support coastal communities and create long-term benefits for the region. That’s why it is so important that we work with developers and support Welsh businesses to help them to understand the scale of the opportunity and build connections so that they can grow in Wales.”