The European Commission has approved French funding for four demonstration offshore wind farms to be built in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Commission found that funding for the four projects – “Groix Belle Ile”, to be located in the Atlantic Ocean, and “Golf du Lion”, “Eolmed”, and “Provence Grand Large” to be placed in the Mediterranean Sea – was in line with the EU’s legislation governing state aid, given that the establishment of the wind farms would contribute to the EU’s climate change reduction targets by promoting the use of renewable energy; while not artificially distorting market competition. The demonstration wind farms are now set to receive investment aid, some of which will be allocated in the form of a repayable advance, and operational aid.
Each demonstration floating wind farm will consist of three or four turbines for a total installed capacity of 24 megawatts, to be installed on seabound floaters; the turbines will be connected to each other and to a land base via an underwater cable. The distribution of turbines, floaters and cables will differ slightly on each wind farm, with the goal of testing different iterations of the technology in order to determine what combination works best before any large scale deployment.
The adherence of the projects to state aid rules were assessed by the European Commission with particular reference to its Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, which are designed to allow Member States to allocate state support to projects promoting the use of renewable energy sources in order to meet the EU’s climate and energy targets, while avoiding “undue distortions” of competition within the Single Market. Under the guidelines, funding for the demonstration offshore wind farms was found to promote the growth and development of “a new type of offshore wind technology”; without the risk of overcompensation for the beneficiaries.