Ocean Winds, Sumitomo Corporation, Banque des Territoires and Vendée Energie, as shareholders of the company “Eoliennes en Mer des îles d’Yeu et de Noirmoutier” (EMYN), have made the final investment decision for the Îles d’Yeu and Noirmoutier project, the fifth offshore wind farm to be commissioned in France from 2025 and located off the coast of Vendée.
The project involves constructing and installing a wind farm 11 km off the island of Yeu and 16 km off Noirmoutier. This offshore wind farm will supply nearly 800,000 people with electricity each year, the equivalent of the population of Vendée. The Yeu and Noirmoutier wind farm represents an investment of around €2.5 billion. All the financing agreements were signed on April 5th, 2023.
Nine years of development
Winner in 2014 of the call for tenders launched by the French State in 2013, EMYN has developed the project, implying a continuous dialogue with local elected officials, fisheries and sea users, socio-economic players and the general public. Detailed engineering studies, environmental studies and the creation of a Scientific Interest Group to follow up and accompany the environmental impacts of the wind farm, from its construction to its exploitation, have also been carried out. The administrative authorisations were obtained in 2018, and the appeals were lifted before the French courts at the beginning of the year.
Start of the construction phase
The final investment decision opens the way for the project’s construction phase: the first offshore operations will take place this summer before the effective start of the installation operations in 2024.
From spring 2024, maritime work will begin by installing the monopile foundations, the electrical substation built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, and the first submarine cables by Louis Dreyfus TravOcean. The companies DEME and Jan de Nul will be responsible for the transport and installation of the foundations and wind turbines. At the same time, RTE, responsible for the wind farm’s connection, will set up a double submarine connection to transfer the electricity generated at sea to the onshore grid.
The wind turbines produced by Siemens Gamesa in its Le Havre facility will be installed in 2025.
The wind farm is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2025.
The construction phase of the EMYN wind farm, which will last 2.5 years, will create 1,600 direct jobs in France. It will contribute to the development of the French offshore wind energy industry.
The financing structure
The project involves robust international public and private financing, led by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and a syndicate of 16 banks: 6 French banks, 4 Japanese banks, 2 British banks, 2 Spanish banks, 1 German bank and 1 Dutch bank. The financing is provided through shareholders-backed financing and non-recourse debt. It was raised with the support of Société Générale, who acted as the financial advisor to the project.
“I am delighted to see the EMYN wind farm come to reality thanks to the support of all its partners and the team, whose great involvement I would like to thank. A new page is being written with the start of the construction phase, a stage during which we will continue to enthusiastically mobilise our know-how and our experts in order to meet the challenges of this collective project”, says Paolo Cairo, President of the “Eoliennes en Mer des iles d’Yeu et de Noirmoutier” company.
A project supported by Vendée Energie
Vendée Energie, a semi-public company for the production and distribution of renewable energy, created by the elected representatives of the Vendée through the SYDEV and the “Conseil Départemental de la Vendée”, acquired a capital participation in the EMYN wind farm in October 2022. This is the first time in France that such a company has acquired a stake in an offshore wind farm, thus illustrating the Vendée’s concrete commitment to the energy transition.
“This partnership was born of a deep-seated conviction: the essential energy transition must be embodied in local projects built in close collaboration with the stakeholders concerned and must result in local economic benefits. This is the sine qua non condition for their acceptability and success, “ explains Alain Leboeuf, President of the Vendée Departmental Council and President of Vendée Energie.
Ocean Winds, an international company dedicated to offshore wind energy and created as a 50-50 joint venture in 2020 by ENGIE and EDP Renewables, is the majority shareholder and has been developing the project from the beginning.
“This key milestone for the EMYN wind farm is part of Ocean Winds’ development dynamic internationally but mainly in France, as one of its key markets. In the country, the next few months will be highlighted by the final investment decision for the Dieppe Le Tréport offshore wind farm and the ongoing construction of the EFGL floating offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Lion. Our teams will therefore be working on the construction of three offshore wind farms in France this year, on our way to generating more than 1 GW of clean energy to French households. Ocean Winds, as the joint venture between ENGIE and EDPR dedicated to offshore wind energy, is also continuing to strengthen its activity in France by applying for various tenders“ says Grzegorz Gorski, Chief Operating Officer of Ocean Winds and chairman of the Board of Directors of EMYN.
Banque des Territoires
“The signing of the financing agreements which enables the start of construction for this large-scale project is a major milestone for offshore wind development in France. We have supported this project anchored into the Vendéean territory from its early days as part of our strategy to promote renewable energy and act for energy sovereignty. The EMYN wind farm represents a local solution that will contribute to the national energy supply, “ says Emmanuel Legrand, Director of the Energy and Ecological Transition of the Banque des Territoires.
“Sumitomo Corporation is pleased to announce the start of construction of the EMYN wind farm, which is the 7th European offshore wind project for us as a Japanese company. We are also involved in offshore wind energy projects in Belgium and UK to support, with its expertise, the European Union, which has strong ambitions in terms of renewable energy. In France, Sumitomo Corporation is aiming to further contribute to achieving the French renewable energy targets by participating in other offshore wind projects, including floating offshore wind projects,” concludes Koichi Taniguchi, Corporate Officer and General Manager of Global Power Infrastructure Business Division.
Image source: Courtesy of Ocean Winds
Read more Wind energy news here