Offshore wind turbines in Port-la-Nouvelle: one year after Jean Castex’s visit, what stage are the works at?

the essential
In March 2022, Jean Castex announced the launch of wind farms in the Mediterranean. Port-la-Nouvelle is ready to mount its wind turbines.

Scalloped with white waves, the big blue is gray this morning in Port-la-Nouvelle. The “sailor” blows hard. And also the wind of anger. Inter-union blockade against the pension reform… The exceptional convoy carrying from the Lot the first block of the first float of the first offshore wind turbine intended for the “Eolmed” regional pilot project will not pass either this Thursday or this Friday. However, “wind turbines, we are in favor of 2000%!” launches a trade unionist. “We are for the occupation,” adds Jesabelle Paoli, general secretary of the CGT Narbonne Littoral.

Be that as it may… The crane dedicated to assembling the floats and future masts was unable to do anything today. “We work according to the weather conditions,” recalls Yann Grajcar, lifting manager, at the foot of the 108-metre booms lifting up to 650t, forced to rest by these ironically disturbing gusts, here, a symbolic first anniversary.

Because Jean Castex’s visit to Port-la-Nouvelle dates back to a year ago, with the tender for “two floating wind farms in the Mediterranean which will guarantee the domestic electricity consumption of around 1 million inhabitants”, he announced midway the former prime minister -March 2022, validating, in fact, the project launched by Occitania in 2019, for its “port of energy transition in the Mediterranean” supported by wind at sea.

“The terminal is operational”

A year later, “the terminal is operational for the installation of the two experimental farms that will precede the industrial project and will supply electricity to 50,000 people”, smiles Didier Codorniou, vice president of the Occitania region, president of the Parliament of the sea, and Yann Wickers, administrator delegate of SEMOP, a structure whose mission is to develop the port.

A total of 350 million euros invested from 2,026… Embraced by the belvedere, the panorama of the new Port-la-Nouvelle then deploys 2.5 km of breakwaters to the north, protecting the 7 hectares of a “wind-driven” breakwater distributed on 40 hectares. “For Eolmed, a 100% Occitanie project, or EFGL of Engie, the elements of the “mechanics” are on the way and the integration of the six wind turbines (2×3) of 10MW each should take place in the coming months”, complete the SEMOP leaders .

“We now have the largest port site in France and the first operational terminal dedicated to wind energy,” welcomes Olivier Ruth, General Manager of Euroports France. The whole problem, for Albert Cormary, of the collective “Balance ton Port”. “Experimental floating wind turbines are not something to be rejected, after all industrial development remains an environmental problem” summarizes him, Didier Codorniou instead claiming consultation and “exemplary monitoring by the scientific committee”.

On the side of the fishing port, cautious… “We prefer to wait for the results to talk about them”, but facing it, the city seems to be regaining some faith in the future. After the economic contribution of the construction sites, “200 people for the assembly of the wind turbines and 1,000 direct jobs with the industrial phase”… “It means families who are settling in and who will also strengthen our public services”, agrees the station .

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