EDF’s lead in offshore wind power

The verdict will once again make people happy and, indirectly, disappointed. At stake: the allocation of the next offshore wind farm to be built, in the south of Brittany, off the coast of Belle-Ile-en-Mer and the island of Groix (Morbihan). These will be floating structures, thanks to anchor lines, and not “laid”, that is to say fixed by marine foundations.

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This call for tenders, known as “AO5”, is the fifth conducted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE). The independent administrative authority must transmit its classification of files to the public authorities, in principle in the first quarter.

In the liberalized energy market, EDF largely dominates the French offshore wind sector, which is still in its infancy. Results of the four calls for tenders already concluded: five of the eight projects have been awarded to consortia in which the public group is a stakeholder. Only one of the projects is already fully operational. The park off the coast of Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) has in fact been operating since 2022… ten years after the project was awarded.

“It is not optimal to have such a concentration”

And again… In 2012, the CRE ranked EDF in the lead for an additional project. That of Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d’Armor). But the State finally decided to award it to a subsidiary of the Spanish Iberdrola, to distribute the industrial effort.

Another player won two sites. Those surrounding Le Tréport, in Seine-Maritime, and Noirmoutier, in Vendée, have in fact been entrusted to Engie. The former GDF is working on this file with a subsidiary of the Portuguese Energias de Portugal (EDP).

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Unsurprisingly, EDF’s competitors are calling for the market to be opened up further. A wish also expressed by the CRE. “It is not optimal to have such a concentration around a single player in a market as important for France as offshore wind power.declares Emmanuelle Wargon, its president. Several other global companies have the strategy of investing in the development of offshore wind (at sea). They would also make it possible to call on private investment, and not just that of a public company. » Implied: not only to EDF, already operator of the French nuclear fleet.

“What’s the point of launching calls for tenders? »

“A single actor, who is also responsible for a new nuclear program, will not be able to do everything”adds Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, head of public affairs in the country for Swedish Vattenfall. “If only one player wins everything, what’s the point of launching calls for tenders, spending money and spending time responding to them? »asks Marc Hirt, general manager of Ocean Winds, a joint venture between Engie and EDP.

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