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Saint-Denis de La Réunion, Thursday February 8th 2024 - Akuo and BlueFloat Energy, in partnership with La Réunion Maritime Cluster and the Energy Transition Cluster Temergie, organized a half-day session of information and exchanges on the prospects of offshore wind for the island of La Réunion this Thursday, an occasion  for the actors of this pioneering technology to present their perspectives on this large-scale energy project, as well as to outline their development approach, which is focused on bringing added value to the territory. The opportunities and industrial challenges of the offshore wind sector for the island were at the heart of discussions during two roundtables that gathered institutional and government representatives from the territory as well as local associations and businesses. 

Already partners in the context of the French Mediterranean tender (AO6) for the development of two floating offshore wind projects off the Mediterranean coasts, Akuo and BlueFloat Energy are developing a floating offshore wind project with a capacity of up to 200 MW on the island of La Réunion, in line with local and national political ambitions. Offshore wind is a proven technology, combining  an unlimited resource for local electricity production with minimal environmental impact and resilience. In metropolitan France, electricity production from wind sources amounted to 25.0 TWh during the first three quarters of 2022, representing 7.4% of French electricity consumption.

Electricity up to two times cheaper

The development of this floating wind project in La Réunion would unlock additional renewable energy production capacity, key for the island's energy autonomy strategy. This is particularly important in an island context, constrained in terms of local renewable energy production capacity on land. A 200 MW floating wind project in La Réunion would generate approximately a quarter of the island's electricity consumption.

While the Multi-Year Energy Programming (PPE) projects a significant increase in energy production costs on the island due to greater biomass imports replacing fossil fuels (see details in the appendix), the project is expected to save 210,000 tons of CO2eq  per year and ensure a stable and acceptable electricity purchase price for citizens

A low environmental impact technology, adapted to the geographical constraints and meteorological conditions of La Réunion

The insular condition of La Réunion imposes technical and logistical constraints that call for the  establishment of a local floating wind sector, which is expected to generate several dozen jobs both during construction and operation phases. Floating offshore wind is a technology adapted to the island's geography and meteorological conditions. Due to the geographical characteristics of La Réunion, there are deep waters offshore. Floaters, anchored at multiple points on the seabed, present fewer challenges to local marine fauna and flora compared to the foundations typically used for fixed wind turbines.
Furthermore, the floating wind industry has developed technical solutions resistant to extreme weather conditions, particularly those of La Réunion, which is regularly subjected to cyclones. Floating wind turbines have demonstrated their resilience to super typhoons in Japan. Other territories with climatic and site conditions similar to those of La Réunion are currently developing offshore wind farms, notably in Asia and the United States.

A territorially supported project at the institutional level 

This type of project meets strong expectations from the government and local officials. As early as March 2022, the Interministerial Committee for the Sea (CIMer) recommended a rapid deployment of such projects. The Government´s  Secretary of State for the Sea, confirmed its desire to "launch ambitious projects on floating wind" during his visit to the island of La Réunion in November 2022.

Eric Scotto, President and Co-founder of Akuo: "Floating wind is one of the technologies that will enable us to achieve energy autonomy for the island, and it is especially the only one that will guarantee a controlled cost of electricity given La Réunion's unlimited and stable wind resource. Floating wind is called to become the new guiding light for La Réunion.”

Clément Mochet, Country Manager, France at BlueFloat Energy: "La Réunion presents a number of strong technical challenges to consider, including cyclones. Properly integrated into studies, these parameters are not limiting the project's realization. On the contrary. This is why we find floating wind projects, for example, in places like Taiwan or California. The integration of the project into the electrical grid is also a real challenge, which highlights the urgent need for evolution of the island's electrical system to integrate clean and decentralized energy production sources."

The two partners with complementary expertise - Akuo, with its fine understanding of energy issues in the La Réunion territory, and BlueFloat Energy, an expert  in offshore wind, have been studying the feasibility of this floating wind project off La Réunion for over two years. Located off Sainte-Marie/Sainte-Suzanne between 5 and 10 kilometers from the coast, this project could materialize by 2030.

Electricity generated from a sustainable energy source with minimal environmental impact, free from dependence on imported resources, and with controlled costs are compelling arguments in favor of the development of an offshore wind industry in La Réunion, the pathway to the island´s genuine energy independence 


Figures on electricity prices in La Réunion

  • The average electricity production price in La Réunion was €267/MWh in 2021, while it ranges between €50 and €100/MWh in  France Metropole.
  • Today, this price difference is absorbed thanks to the CSPE, which ensures price continuity for electricity in overseas territories and Corsica. It amounted to €2.5 billion in 2022, for all the territories concerned.
  • The Multi-Year Energy Programming (PPE) for 2023 forecasts a significant increase in electricity production costs in La Réunion due to the transition from an electricity mix based on coal and diesel to one based on imported biomass. Thus, the price of electricity in La Réunion is expected to rise to €455/MWh for liquid biomass and €368/MWh for pellets in 2024.
  • This increase will have an impact on electricity bills in the long run. The construction of a floating wind project in La Réunion would help contain this raise considering a target price of around €200/MWh.