This pilot farm of floating wind turbines in the Gulf of Lion must be installed 18km off the seaside resorts of Leucate (Aude) and Barcarès (Pyrénées-Orientales) for a planned commissioning "end of 2023/beginning of 2024".
On Sunday, RTE launched a "sheath", that is to say a tube intended to accommodate and protect part of the submarine electric cable which will connect the wind farm to the terrestrial cable, explained to the AFP a spokeswoman for the manager of the high and very high voltage line network.
The sheath put in place makes it possible to avoid work on the beach which is in a protected area, she further indicated.
The connection between the submarine electric cable that will connect the wind farm to the land network will be made on the coast, within a "junction chamber", that is to say a "buried masonry concrete box" at a few meters from the beach.
"The electric cable will be installed inside this sleeve in a second time," said the operator in a press release.
Initial work on land, consisting of digging a borehole for the installation of the sheath, was launched in February on this site.
The submarine cable intended to provide a 63.000 volt connection must be installed "during the second half of 2023", said the spokesperson for RTE.
Unlike "standing" wind turbines, whose mast is planted in the seabed, floating wind turbines can be installed in deep areas, further from the coast and in windier areas.
In addition to Barcarès, two other pilot farms are planned in the Mediterranean, off Port-la-Nouvelle (Aude) and in the Gulf of Fos (Bouches-du-Rhône).
These experimental farms must in particular make it possible to carry out research on the consequences on marine fauna and flora of the installation of commercial floating wind turbines.
However, without waiting for the results of this research, the government also announced last year the future construction in the Mediterranean of two commercial floating wind farms, much more powerful than these experimental farms (250 MW each, with a possible extension to 500 MW, compared to 25 to 30 MW for the pilot farms).
Defenders of the environment, fishermen, scientists and local elected officials had spoken out in favor of postponing the construction of commercial parks in order to be able to benefit from the research carried out thanks to the pilot farms.
"Our concerns are always the same in terms of impact on wildlife and marine areas," said Kevin Jeanroy, of the Sites and Monuments association, to AFP, saying he was opposed to "this industrial, giant, overpowered wind turbine " and supporter of the installation of "small generators" wind or photovoltaic "adapted to local needs".