• In Saint-Brieuc, the construction of a 62-mast offshore wind farm divides opinion and attracts numerous criticisms, particularly from fishermen.

  • On Monday May 2, a woman drowned on the site installed on a beach in Erquy, triggering the opening of an investigation for manslaughter.

  • From the start of the project, the choice of the company Ailes Marines, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, provoked the anger of opponents who denounce favouritism.

Monday, May 2, a 70-year-old woman drowned in Erquy (Côtes-d'Armor) after falling into a canal dug as part of the construction site of the future wind farm in Saint-Brieuc.

The victim was visibly walking on the edge of the beach and had water up to his knees when he suddenly fell into a pit more than four meters deep, dug to connect the park to the earth.

The intervention of witnesses did not save her.

After this drowning, the public prosecutor quickly let it be known that investigations would be carried out to check whether the safety of the site and its signage were sufficient on the Caroual beach.

An investigation for manslaughter has been opened by the Saint-Brieuc prosecutor's office.

The pit into which the walker fell was made as part of the landing works for the offshore wind farm connection project. Two contiguous channels were dug over a width of 60 meters and a length of 250 meters.

If one of the channels was partially filled, the other had to be "after the intervention of the divers to anchor the cables by ballasting them", specified the prosecutor Nicolas Heitz.

If it is far too early to know the responsibilities of each, this drama comes on top of the already heavy liabilities of the wind farm, which is also strongly criticized.

An annoying accidental pollution

In a region that has been repeatedly affected by oil spills, marine pollution brings back painful memories.

In June 2021, an oil slick 16 km long by 3 km wide spread

due at sea off Saint-Brieuc.

The manager ?

A "technical problem" aboard the ship


which was carrying out drilling work in the area.

Belonging to the Dutch company Van Oord, the ship had declared to the authorities “an oil leak of 100 liters” fairly quickly brought under control.

Iberdrola, the Spanish company responsible for the construction, had been summoned by the Minister for Energy Transition.

“We are ensuring that Iberdrola takes all measures to clean up the pollution and ensure that the work continues in flawless conditions,” Barbara Pompili had tackled.

Suspicions of favoritism?

In the fall, a few months after the solution, the Côtes-d'Armor fisheries committee seized the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) for "concealment of favoritism" in the 2012 award of the park's public contract to Ailes Marines .

With the wind standing against the project the arrival of the 62 wind turbines, the fishermen contest the choice of the company Ailes Marines, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, established by the French government.

Their lawyers rely for this on the choice that had been made by the Energy Regulatory Commission to award the project to the competing company Eolien Maritime France.

The government had however opted for the Spanish competitor based on criteria that were more favorable to it.

Problem ?

These criteria were not included in the specifications, argue the lawyers.

Seized, the Council of State had noted irregularities.

The investigation is still in progress.

Complaints that multiply

Very upset against the project which will see 62 wind turbines 205 meters high off Saint-Brieuc, the scallop fishermen had challenged the site monitoring program, particularly with regard to the impact on the environment. water and biodiversity.

The Council of State rejected their appeal in cassation two weeks ago.

The NGO Sea Sheperd has also taken legal action to French courts "to challenge the derogations for the destruction of protected species granted to Ailes Marines".

With a capacity of 496 Megawatts with 62 wind turbines over 200 meters high and 30 to 42 meters underwater, the park is supposed to produce 1,820 Gigawatts per year, the equivalent, according to its promoter, of the annual electricity consumption of 835,000 inhabitants.

Its commissioning is announced for the end of 2023.


Saint-Brieuc: A walker dies drowned after falling in the construction site of the wind farm


Saint-Nazaire: That's it, France's first offshore wind turbine is installed

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