This Monday, May 3, in the bay of Saint-Brieuc begins the installation site of the first Breton offshore wind farm. It provides for the construction of 62 wind turbines installed, or anchored, on the seabed. Each 215 m high at the end of the blade, they will develop 1,820 GWh / year, ie the annual electricity consumption of 835,000 inhabitants, heating included.
A project led by the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, already present in the Irish Sea, the North Sea or the Baltic Sea and which has just applied to build the 8th French offshore wind farm in the Cotentin.
The industrialist puts 2.4 billion euros on the table.
The site will begin with the installation of the anchor piles in the northern part of the wind farm. The southern part, considered to have the most fish and therefore the most exploited by fishermen, will be affected by the work in 2022. In parallel, between June and September, operations will be carried out to pre-slice the cable roads connecting the wind turbines to the land. . 90 km of cables will be buried (buried at sea). In 2023, the wind turbines will be installed and put into service.
In 2011, the call for tenders provided for an operating area of 180 km² located around the Grand Léjon lighthouse. Then, it was a question of circumscribing the area to 80 km² off Cape Erquy. Finally, the chosen perimeter is 75 km². It is located 33 km north of Saint-Brieuc, 27.7 km west of Île de Bréhat, 17 km north of Cap d’Erquy and 35.4 km northeast. from Saint-Malo.
The manufacturer announces that the wind farm will mobilize 1,500 jobs in France, including 500 in Brittany. The assembly of the masts, like that of the “jackets”, submerged foundations, will be done at Brest. Two activities generating around 280 jobs.
Between the moment when Ailes Marines, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, won, on April 6, 2012, the call for tenders launched by the State two years earlier, and the start of the project, nine years have passed. An eternity on the industrial scale. But between a complex administrative procedure, sometimes very long appeals (the last was rejected by the Council of State on December 2, 2012; one remains to be studied by the European Court of Justice, but it is not suspensive), the mobilization of ‘associations of citizens and the opposition of professional fishermen, the road is winding. Without forgetting the public meetings at the beginning, which was followed in 2016 by the public inquiry. Two months, 36 municipalities concerned, around fifty files to consult, 6,000 pages to study. Here’s one XXL survey. The opportunity for environmental defense associations to step up to the plate. The start of a long fight.
From 2011, the Gardez les caps association, which campaigns for the preservation of the environment between the bays of Saint-Brieuc and Saint-Malo, mobilized and panicked to see, at the time, 190 m² of the bay of Saint-Brieuc “pre-empted” for a wind project. Since then, several associations have followed suit. They worry in turn about seeing the maritime landscape modified and fear that this field of wind turbines will have a negative impact on the tourist activity of their municipality. They also denounce the consequences on the underwater fauna. Like the fishermen from elsewhere who, very early on, saw it as a threat to the resource, in particular the scallop. Alain Coudray, president of the Côtes-d’Armor departmental fisheries committee, speaks for angry professionals. And it is not the various impact studies on noise and turbidity that are likely to reassure them.
Finally, there are the chosen ones. At the very beginning, only five municipalities on the Penthièvre coast were clearly opposed to the project. Today, discontent has gained ground and several elected officials have reservations. They believe that the promises of the industrialist are not there.
The recent announcement of compensation, up to € 10 million, for professional fishermen, whose activity would be impacted by the work, did not calm their anger. This Monday, May 3, they should be numerous in the area to disrupt the launch of the site. Last stand or the start of a long series of skirmishes at sea?
At the same time, on land, associations for the defense of the environment have planned, from 10 a.m., to demonstrate in front of the prefecture, in Saint-Brieuc.
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