Photo: SEM-REV test site (Courtesy of Centrale Nantes)

French stand ready to kick off SEM-REV 2.0 works

Having played a pivotal role in the advancement of marine renewable energies in France, the SEM-REV test site is ready for infrastructure upgrades to respond to the needs of the growing offshore renewable energy sector.

SEM-REV test site (Courtesy of Centrale Nantes)
SEM-REV test site (Courtesy of Centrale Nantes)

SEM-REV is one of the first European sites for multi-technology offshore testing that is connected to the grid. It has all the equipment – offshore and onshore – to develop, test and improve energy extraction systems, mainly from wind and wave energy sources.

Operated by Centrale Nantes/CNRS, the site has hosted real sea trials of the FLOATGEN floating wind prototype since 2018, and WAVEGEM wave energy device from 2019 to 2021, cementing its status as a benchmark test center for marine renewables.

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Now, new investments are needed to meet the development needs of the growing marine renewable energy industry, and to enable new users access the infrastructure located offshore Le Croisic, in western France.

The start of a new stage: SEM-REV 2.0

SEM-REV features 1km2 designated maritime zone located 20km off the coast from Le Croisic (Courtesy of SEM-REV)
SEM-REV features 1 km2 designated offshore zone 20 km off the coast of Le Croisic (Courtesy of SEM-REV)

In order to develop the test site, Centrale Nantes has requested assistance from the French government and the Pays de la Loire Region as part of the ‘France 2030’ financing plan.

The work, segmented into three major operations, is planned to take place from 2022 and 2024, and relates to increasing the grid export capacity of the site, installation of a floating substation, and creation of a business incubator and exhibition center dedicated to marine renewables.

According to Centrale Nantes, the plan is to increase the site’s grid export capacity from the current 3.5MW to 10MW, in order to accommodate demonstrations of higher output floating wind turbines – rated at 5MW or above.

To do this, the SEM-REV needs to upgrade subsea cables to allow for simultaneous connection of three prototypes to the site’s connection hub. The cables are planned to be equipped with connectors, to reduce costs and risks for demonstration projects.

Following the installation of the cables, additional works are necessary to electrify them and upgrade the land delivery station located in Le Croisic.

Part of the required investments will also be used for the installation of an offshore floating substation.

This could accommodate, for example, R&D projects related to hydrogen production, marine renewable energy demonstrators of lower power, or even be used as an offshore operational base by the site’s teams and its partners.

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The platform first must be designed, manufactured and then installed offshore, with the aim for commissioning set for the summer of 2024.

Finally, SEM-REV’s research team will also get improved facilities, whereby one will be reserved for hosting an exhibition center for marine renewables, with plans to establish a business incubator for the sector.


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