SPIE takes part in France’s first offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire

Published on 21 September 2021

Nantes, 21 September 2021 The Industrie division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire, a French subsidiary of the SPIE group, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the fields of energy and communications, is playing an active part in the implementation of France's first offshore wind farm in Saint-Nazaire (department 44, Loire-Atlantique).

In order to enhance the services it provides and consolidate its position as a key player in the rapidly expanding Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) market, in September 2020, the Industrie division of SPIE Industrie & Tertiaire announced the creation of a new department, “Services Navals & Energies Marines” (Naval Services & Marine Energy). It has deployed its renowned technical skills and ability to resolve complex issues in order to play an active part in the implementation of the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, installation of which is due for completion by the end of 2022. This offshore wind farm, France's first, will generate electricity to cover 1/5 of household consumption in the French department of Loire-Atlantique. The Industrie division has been awarded the contract for several batches of technical work associated with this implementation.

Construction of a test bench for the turbines

The Industrie division has constructed the test bench in Saint-Nazaire for checking the future offshore wind farm’s turbines are operating properly. SPIE has been involved right through from design to construction of this test bench, equipped with a 20-metre-high gantry for handling the cables atop the turbine nacelles, with turbine power amounting to 6 MW. This project has been carried out by expert local teams specialising in high voltage work.

Digital 4.0 monitoring and preservation of the wind turbines

The turbine nacelles are produced at the Montoir-de-Bretagne plant (44) then transferred and stored at the logistics hub a few kilometres away in Saint-Nazaire. The Industrie division is in charge of preserving the 80 turbines constituting the future offshore wind farm. This contract consists of carrying out curative, preventive and predictive maintenance operations prior to them being installed offshore.

To meet this end, the teams have developed a digital 4.0 solution to monitor the various elements of the turbines. Through the use of around 1,000 connected things, the technicians are able to monitor various parameters and check to ensure set conditions are maintained as regards the equipment. This system works continually to detect potential anomalies and trigger the necessary corrective action. “We succeeded in creating a bespoke solution for monitoring the wind turbines to preserve their condition. We incorporated various constraints, such as remoteness - with certain elements able to be transferred to a storage location several kilometres away - and we also thought ahead to continued offshore monitoring, prior to the commissioning of the turbines”, explains Xavier de Noblens, Industrie departmental head in charge of the Services Navals & Energies Marines entity.

Installation and commissioning of high-voltage equipment for the offshore electricity substation

SPIE is also working on the installation of high-voltage equipment for the offshore electricity substation, to which the 80 wind turbines will be linked in order to connect them to the network for distribution purposes. This offshore substation will increase the turbines’ voltage from 33 kV to 225 kV and will be connected to the mainland through two 225 kV links, offshore (33 kilometres) and on land (27 kilometres). The Industrie division has also been awarded the contract for commissioning the high-voltage facilities for the substation and its supervision system, designed to monitor the proper production of the facilities to ensure they meet the expected performance standards and prepare for future commissioning activities.

“The 2019-2020 period marked a turning point in energy transition in France. Offshore wind farm projects are taking shape in France and the Industrie division has specialist expertise in this field. So, it intends taking its rightful place in this strategic market”, says Xavier de Noblens in conclusion.