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Why the wind farm in the bay of Saint-Brieuc will stay the course – Wind farm in the bay of Saint-Brieuc: years of tension
  • 1 The energy challenge remains strong
  • The wind farm must contribute to the electric independence of Brittany. This produces 12 to 13% of its energy, 20% of its electricity. Its renewable electricity capacity is based mainly on onshore wind power, the total installed capacity of which is 1,065 MW for a total capacity of 2,776 MW in 2020. The Briochin project alone will weigh 496 MW.

    The Region aims for a production capacity of 7,562 GWh for offshore wind power in 2030, or 23% of the Breton energy mix. One point of reference among others: the 112 onshore wind farms in Brittany produced 1,941 GWh in 2019.

  • 2 Politics is taking over the wind power sector
  • Several presidents of the right – Xavier Bertrand, Valérie Pécresse, Michel barnier – came to criticize, in the Côtes-d’Armor, the development of the offshore wind farm Briochin, with the intervention of leaders of the Breton right.

    The reply came from the regional council of Brittany, last week : three elected members of the majority – Daniel Cueff, Sandrine Le Meur, Carole Le Béchec – have shown their support for the file after discussions between regional elected officials and representatives of the company Ailes Marines. “Wind turbines on the ground or floating are the future,” insisted Loïg Chesnais-Girard on September 8 at the Breton Economic Forum in Saint-Malo. “We must hear the whistleblowers, but at some point, decision-makers must be able to take long-term actions, otherwise we will take steps backwards,” he said. The independent environmental group in the Region is also in favor of the project.

    Contacted by Le Télégramme, the Ministry of Ecological Transition means that “it is not on the agenda to change energy strategy”. “There is no questioning of the project, but we expect the operator to be transparent and exemplary,” said Barbara Pompili’s entourage.

  • 3 Will the lawsuits weigh?
  • The appeals follow one another in any case. The latest is to be put to the assets of Sea Shepherd and Keep the Caps. These associations attacked, on September 3, a prefectural decree of April 2017 which authorizes Ailes Marines to “derogate from the ban on the destruction of protected species for 59 species of birds and marine mammals, and their habitats”. The lawyers of the Côtes d’Armor departmental fisheries committee, who lodged a first complaint at the end of August against “the entire project”, are preparing a new legal action, which must be announced in September.

  • 4 Doubts about the environmental impact remain
  • The Sea Shepherd and Gardez les Caps associations remain skeptical about the preservation of marine biodiversity. Drilling incidents and pollution that occurred on the wind farm site June 14 and July 28 n ‘only fueled their fears. For its part, France Nature Environnement promotes offshore wind power but asks for guarantees on respect for biodiversity. The elected representatives of the regional majority believe that they have obtained these guarantees.

  • 5 No adverse effect on fishing, according to studies
  • With regard to the scallop deposit, the project promoters rely in particular on the research of Laurent Chauvaud (CNRS), who has been studying the shell since 1994. Mandated by Ailes Marines, the Brest scientist analyzed, for two years, the potential impacts of drilling, beating and trenching noise on marine molluscs. “We have shown that it was impossible for these noises to kill the scallops. The fisherman, in essence, captures scallops, it is his work that requires recurring plowing of funds, this is not the case for the production of electricity, ”he explains.

    For his part, Paul Tréguer, the founder of the European University Institute of the Sea, in Plouzané (29), invites us to look at the experience acquired in Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc. He quotes, for example, a report from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences which covers the period 2008-2018, about the resonances of Belgian wind power on marine ecosystems. “It reveals, in particular, that there has been little change for Belgian and Dutch fishermen who had comparable, or sometimes even higher, sole and plaice catch rates near wind farms than in the ‘whole area,’ says Paul Tréguer.

    The professor emeritus suggests dividing up the areas of use, with the creation of a marine protected area. “Around the wind farm, fishermen would benefit from preserved biodiversity. I do not understand why this is not possible, ”he comments.