With GE, Pays de la Loire region stands out as a pioneer in offshore wind

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© GE Renewable Energy

The world’s largest offshore wind turbine, the Haliade-X 12 MW, is being developed by GE Renewable Energy in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire. Thanks to an agreement recently signed with Ørsted, the first hundred of these innovative turbines will be heading across the Atlantic and installed in US offshore wind farms by 2022. On the same date, the exploitation of the first French offshore wind farm will begin… obviously located near Saint-Nazaire and equipped with GE’s 6 MW turbines!

GE elected Nantes to install the headquarters and the engineering office of its offshore wind subsidiary. A few miles up the Loire, in Saint-Nazaire, the international group is building the base and assembling the parts of the Haliade 6MW and soon the Haliade-X 12 MW turbines. More than $400 million has been invested to develop the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine to date.

We are proud to build the future of the offshore wind industry in Saint-Nazaire, a reference production site in offshore wind turbine production for our international projects.

Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy, when Haliade-X was presented to the press this summer.

Haliade-X chosen to equip US and UK offshore wind farms

GE recently announced the first commercial successes of the Haliade-X 12MW. The Danish company Ørsted, the world-leading offshore wind developer, has selected GE’s turbine for two offshore wind farms located in US waters: Skipjack (Maryland, 120 MW of combined capacity, commissioning in 2022) and Ocean Wind (New Jersey, 1.1 GW, 2024).

Less than two weeks later, GE revealed that Haliade-X 12MW turbines were also to be used by Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The final order could reach 300 units for this XXL project: the three wind farms located in the North Sea (80 miles from the Yorkshire Coast) will attain a combined capacity of up to 3.6 GW, making it the largest wind farm in the world. Operational by 2023, these offshore wind farms will power over 4.5 million homes, representing 5% of the UK’s estimated electricity generation.

The Haliade-X 12 MW in figures: GE makes it big!

  • Total height of 260 meters
  • Rotor diameter of 220 meters
  • Blades with a length of 107 meters, sweeping a total area of 38.000 square meters
  • Each turbine can produce up to 67 GWh per year and save 42 million tonnes of CO2
  • 200 persons are working in the Saint-Nazaire plant, and soon they will be 350

The first French offshore wind farm on the starting line

Developed by Eolien Maritime France (a joint venture between EDF Renouvelables and the US company Enbridge), this farm situated 7.5 miles off La Baule coast will be equipped with 80 of GE’s Haliade 150-6MW wind turbines.

Planned to be in service by 2022, this offshore wind farm will be the very first in France. With 480 MW of combined capacity, the energy produced will represent up to 20% of the Loire-Atlantique department consumption.

A region with key assets for marine renewables

Pays de la Loire is one of France’s major industrial regions and has a long tradition in shipbuilding, but also an expertise in aerospace or composite materials. It offers many solutions for R&D, testing facilities logistics: GE Renewable Energy will for example use the maritime connection originally created for Airbus uses. Also, the region is home to 40% of marine renewable jobs in France (Source: Observatoire des énergies de la mer).

Thanks to a strong political will, the region is developing the marine renewable energy sector quickly and hosts dedicated infrastructures such as the SEM-REV test site, Le Carnet clean tech industrial zone and platforms for innovation like Technocampus Océan. Local industrial players are also taking part: Defontaine, leader in wind turbine rings, for example announced in October a €30 million investment in Vendée.

The offshore wind industry is booming and has become a key industrial sector for the Pays de la Loire economy. The future is bright, and Nantes city has been chosen to host the international event for MRE professionals Seanergy 2020. A perfect occasion to showcase this progression!

Two Haliade-X prototypes on the test bed

GE Renewable Energy announced on November 7th that a Haliade-X 12 MW prototype produced its very first kWh. Located in Rotterdam-Maasvlakte (Netherlands), it will be used for testing and to obtain a Type Certificate for the world’s largest offshore wind turbine. A few days later, GE also mentioned that another Haliade-X prototype arrived in the UK for an advanced testing program at ORE Catapult in Blyth (UK) which will replicate real-world conditions. Serial production is planned to start in 2021.

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