This first public environmental impact assessment presents the work carried out, the observations and the results obtained on the SEM-REV offshore site, which is run by Centrale Nantes and the CNRS, on the Floatgen floating wind turbine. This 2 MW demonstrator, whose floating platform was developed by BW IDEOL, is deployed offshore and has been producing electricity since 2018.
The SEM-REV teams have conducted studies in recent years to understand, analyse and measure the potential environmental impact of floating wind turbines. It is part of SEM-REV’s remit to improve our knowledge of the marine environment and the environmental impacts of marine renewable energy (MRE). As FLOATGEN was the first wind turbine to be deployed offshore in France, this feedback is essential in order to understand the impacts that could arise in the longer term and on a larger scale in a commercial context, and to pursue efforts to document impacts in order to mitigate if and when necessary.
The impact assessment covered all stages of the three-year in-situ test: initial site conditions, installation of the anchoring systems, towing of the turbine out to the site and its hookup to the power grid, and operation and maintenance. The assessment covers several areas, from physics (underwater acoustics, electromagnetic fields, temperature) to biology (marine mammals, benthic communities, avifauna, etc.), as well as a social dimension with landscape analysis.
The publication of this technical assessment represents the culmination of more than 10 years of work undertaken by our teams with our partners and subcontractors. It confirms the pioneering role of a research infrastructure in a real environment for hosting technological demonstrators in the field of offshore renewable energies, as well as its vocation to disseminate multidisciplinary knowledge. Yves Perignon, Head of the SEM-REV facility.
To date, no significant effects or impacts on the marine environment have been detected in any of the areas studied. Furthermore, no environmental incidents or pollution have been generated, either during the construction, operation or maintenance phases of the demonstrator. The report has been made public and is available to all: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5659296
Testing of the FLOATGEN demonstrator will continue until autumn 2023. Once the tests are completed, the demonstrator will be dismantled. The environmental impact assessment will be updated periodically to cover the entire test phase and then dismantling. These studies will continue with future demonstrators hosted on the SEM-REV site.
Sustainable development is a major focus in the strategic development of Centrale Nantes, which has shown a strong commitment to marine renewable energy for many years now. The SEM-REV offshore test site, a research tool of international significance, is today proving to be an indispensable asset in addressing the technological and environmental challenges of this sector in France. Jean-Baptiste Avrillier, Director of Centrale Nantes.