US News TRIBUNE. Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea: "Wind power at sea is a chance for France"

00:45  29 november  2020
00:45  29 november  2020 Source:   lejdd.fr

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TRIBUNE. Annick Girardin, Minister for the Sea, wants to launch an ambitious policy for wind energy at sea with one objective: that a quarter of French electricity will come from it by 2050.

Here is the column of Annick Girardin, Minister for the Sea, on offshore wind turbines: "Two thousand two hundred and twenty-five for the United Kingdom, 1469 for Germany, 559 for Denmark, 1 for France. What do these figures represent? offshore wind turbines installed by country at the end of 2019. One for France, one, while our country has the largest offshore wind energy source in the European Union. However, with offshore wind, it is a revolution for ecological transition on a planetary scale which is underway. China has understood this well since by 2025 it will become the first country in the world by its wind power production capacities at sea.

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Why would France stay away from such a revolution? Conservatism, reluctance to evolve technological aspects? Preference for other energies? Fear of offending traditional users of the sea? Competition with fishing? Afraid of distorting the maritime landscapes? Endangering the treasures of marine biodiversity? Huge cost? All these arguments - sometimes justified, sometimes more questionable - mix, contradict each other, to the point of creating vagueness among the French. They may feel that studies, controversies, legal proceedings, public debates and other consultations are increasing, and that projects are slow to materialize.


In 2050, 25% of French electricity could be produced at sea


As Minister of the Sea, I fully appreciate the stakes. When the Ministry of the Sea was created this summer, the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister gave me a clear mission: to plan the French maritime areas, that is to say to make the uses consistent to build the maritime world of tomorrow. This is what we will do in Normandy following the public debate in recent months.

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is probably the most famous and captivating book by the author. The three characters, who had such different views and values, joined an expedition to hunt a deep sea monster, which was a threat to navigation in the area.

The sea is one of the most important areas of ocean in the world. Most countries base their claims off the United Nations Law of the Seas , which says a country’s territory extends 200 miles off its shores, an area called the exclusive economic zone, or EEZ.

We must now arbitrate conflicts when necessary, always considering the sea as a common good of humanity. However, I refuse to consider compromises concerning our strategic choices. Wind power at sea is one of them.

Understand that in 2050, 25% of French electricity could be produced at sea! This is a horizon aligned with the European strategy for renewable marine energies presented on November 19. Achieving this objective means making choices, controlling risks and acting now. To put it another way, it means being political: listening to and taking into account everyone's arguments while giving concrete expression to public action.

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Why support the development of offshore wind power? Because it will soon be a competitive economic activity - the future Dunkirk park should not require public support - and because this activity contributes to territorial development. By 2050, the sector's turnover outlook is around 10 billion euros and 5,000 direct, non-relocatable jobs linked to the operation of the parks will be created. From an industrial standpoint, France is one of the leading countries in Europe in terms of its turbine and blade production capacities, with already nearly 1,000 direct jobs. As proof of this, I have the recent order for 190 wind turbines built in Saint-Nazaire for the largest park in the world currently under development in the United Kingdom. These opportunities should not be denied.

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Fish Tally (Abysmal for 19 days at sea ): 1 small Black Fin tuna. 4 Mahi Mahi. 2 Yellowfin Tuna. Max wind strength; 39 knots. Max wave height; 4 meters. Number of Squalls; Hundreds.

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In France, we lack experience feedback; scientific expertise must be fully mobilized


This industrial adventure took off without public support, in particular for the first six parks . The cost, considerable, was agreed in 2011-2012 when the sector was emerging. In 2018, the government renegotiated the contracts for these six parks and reduced overall public support from 40 to 25 billion euros spread over the next twenty years. These data are public, verified by independent authorities. They demonstrate the need for good public management and proportionate support for offshore wind power, in the light of our ambition. Reconciling blue growth and energy transition is not a mirage, but a reality.

I also hear the criticisms relating to the impact of offshore wind on the environment and on the resources fished. Yes, it has impacts. But we remain demanding, avoiding them as much as possible, reducing them when they are unavoidable, compensating them as a last resort.

In the United Kingdom or Denmark, the environmental impacts of offshore wind power have been measured and remain moderate. They are real during the construction phase but mitigation measures make it possible to remedy them. In operation, they are negligible. The impact of offshore wind turbines on the environment can even become positive: an 'artificial reef' type effect on the foundations of wind turbines has been observed. It promotes the local increase in biodiversity and the abundance of marine species. Other innovations are possible.

In France, we lack experience feedback. With Barbara Pompili, we asked the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) to measure in real time, on current sites, the social and economic consequences of the development of a new park in a territory.


I bet that future wind farms will have the same reputation as the TGV or the Millau viaduct


Scientific expertise must be fully mobilized, here too, to measure the impacts and provide us with solutions . In Saint-Brieuc, where discussions on these subjects are lively, I note that the scientific monitoring protocols have been favorably assessed by Ifremer and that concrete results must be discussed soon.

We know that an industrial project can raise a lot of questions during its development and prove to be iconic over time. The TGV or the Millau viaduct were far from being unanimous. Today they are our pride. I bet that future wind farms will have the same fame. "

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