GDF SUEZ inaugurates the most powerful wind farm in Brittany and confirms its status as the wind energy leader in France
Today, in the presence of local elected officials, Jean-François Cirelli, Vice Chairman and President of GDF SUEZ, accompanied by Henri Ducré, GDF SUEZ Executive Vice President, and Claude Midi, CEO of Eole Generation, inaugurated the Landes de Couesmé wind farm near Les Fougerets in the Morbihan department. Generating 33MW of electricity, the wind farm is the most powerful in Brittany, thus confirming the strong presence of GDF SUEZ in the region and, with total installed capacity of over 1,100MW, its status as France’s leading wind energy operator.
The Landes de Couesmé wind farm was developed and is operated by Eole Generation, a wholly owned GDF SUEZ subsidiary. The wind farm has eleven Alstom wind turbines and is the first in Brittany to be equipped with 3-megawatt wind turbines and the first GDF SUEZ wind farm in the world to feature such powerful units.
The Landes de Couesmé wind farm will produce 68 million kilowatt-hours a year, equivalent to annual electricity consumption of more than 37,500 people, which is three times the population of the city of Pontivy in the Morbihan department. This renewable energy source will also reduce CO₂ emissions by producing 54,000 metric tons less per year than a fuel-powered generating plant.
A fully vetted project benefiting the Brittany region
The Landes de Couesmé wind farm is emblematic of the approach taken by GDF SUEZ and its subsidiaries that emphasizes well-vetted projects that respect the environment and are carried out in partnership with local business enterprises.
Eole Generation asked Cofely Ineo to build the entire wind farm infrastructure, focusing on a partnership approach benefiting the local economy and local job creation. Several contracts were thus signed with local businesses: TechInter for the supply and installation of three electricity supply substations, Charrier TP for roadwork, networks, and platform excavation, and Coue Crete and David TP for road works. The worksite employed 80 to 100 people over a 13-month period.
From the project’s start in 2005, Eole Generation carried out regular consultations with all its stakeholders – local jurisdictions, neighbors, landowners, farmers, and residents of the towns of La Gacilly, Les Fougerets, and Saint Martin sur Oust. Fifteen meetings were organized during the project to keep interested parties informed.
Eole Generation also took steps for greater public awareness of the benefits of wind energy and better landscape integration, such as the screening of substations with trees and hedges, development of discovery pathways, consolidation and asphalt-free reinforcement of existing paths. During construction, an independent naturalist inspected the site several times to survey the local environment, in particular onsite plant and animal life.
GDF SUEZ, the Nº 1 wind power producer in France
GDF SUEZ carries out an active policy promoting renewable energy sources (including wind, hydropower, solar, and biomass), which preserve natural resources and contribute to electricity supply security. In France, GDF SUEZ has an electricity generation capacity of close to 10,000MW, 50% of which from renewable energy sources. The Group is France’s leading operator of onshore wind energy and its second largest hydroelectric power producer.
GDF SUEZ, well established in Brittany
GDF SUEZ has a workforce of 3,200 employees in Brittany where it is active in all its businesses (electricity, natural gas, and energy and environment services).
GDF SUEZ operates wind farms in Brittany with 117MW in total installed capacity, accounting for more than 10% of its nationwide wind energy assets.
The Group actively contributes to the region’s economic development where, for example, it is involved in coordinating a regional network of 580 small and medium-size companies (offering Group employees to coach local entrepreneurs, organizing best practices exchanges, and providing financial support to network organized events), and calling upon local businesses to carry out its projects.
GDF SUEZ develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, combating climate change and optimizing the use of resources. The Group provides highly efficient and innovative solutions to individuals, cities and businesses by relying on diversified gas-supply sources, flexible and low-emission power generation as well as unique expertise in four key sectors: liquefied natural gas, energy efficiency services, independent power production and environmental services. GDF SUEZ employs 218,900 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €90.7 billion in 2011. The Group is listed on the Brussels, Luxembourg and Paris stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Stoxx 50, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe, ASPI Eurozone and ECPI Ethical Index EMU.