Meridiam, CDC buy into €200m floating wind project

The pair have joined China’s CGN and French firm Eolfi in the first large-scale testing of floating offshore wind turbines.

French fund manager Meridiam and Caisse des Dépôts have bought minority stakes in a 24MW floating offshore wind project in France.

The duo have each purchased 24.5 percent of the project, which is estimated to cost about €200 million. They join French wind developer Eolfi and the European arm of China General Nuclear Power Group, which together own 51 percent of the facility to be situated off the coast of Brittany.

Draft legislation last month in France set a provisional feed-in tariff for the project of €240 per MWh. The pilot wind farms were awarded by French environment agency Ademe in July last year, with developer Quadran also awarded rights to build a similar plant. Ademe awarded a further two 24MW projects in November, to be built by EDF and EDPR. The tender rules state the wind farms must be operating by 2020.

“The arrival of these French institutional investors is a strong indication of the interest generated by the emergence of the new floating wind energy sector for the future of the energy and industrial landscape in France and Brittany,” Eolfi stated. “This partnership will help develop the French energy and naval industry and open the doors to a global market for floating wind power, the prospects of which are considerable.”

The four 24MW pilot projects ensure France is Europe’s hotbed for the testing of the technology. Smaller experiments of 30MW and 48MW are taking place in Scotland and Portugal and trade association WindEurope estimates the continent has potential for 4,000GW of the technology.