Clean Power

Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Amber Archangel


D-Day Legacy Threatened By Wind Turbines Off Normandy Coast?

June 21st, 2013 by  

Is the D-Day Legacy In Peril From 75 Wind Turbines Off the Normandy Coast?

A proposed 450 MW offshore wind farm in the waters off the D-day landing beaches at Courseulles-sur-Mer off the Normandy Coast has sparked an understandably emotional response from many veterans of World War II. The debate is intensified by the fact that the 70th anniversary of the landing is next year and many veterans are now in their 90’s. The following is from Offshore wind farm off the coast of Courseulles-sur-Mer PUBLIC DEBATE NEWSLETTER 1 [PDF]:

wind D-Day

British troops and naval beach parties on Sword Beach in Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. This is photograph B 5116 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. | Photo Credit: Knight (Capt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit | Wikipedia Commons

The Project in Figures

  • The wind farm will be constructed at least 6 miles off the coast of Courseulles-sur-Mer
  • Its total area will be 12 acres
  • 75 wind turbines with a height of 570 feet (mast + blades), separated from each other by a distance of around 1/2 mile
  • They will be connected to the national grid by under-sea and underground cables
  • The total cost will be 1.8 billion Euros

Who Can Get Involved?

The public debate process is open to all and continues until 20 July, 2013. The location of the project off the D-day landing beaches fully justifies the participation of any British, Canadian and American nationals who may have concerns.

All individuals and organizations have the right to ask questions and give their opinions with equal rights to speak.

The documents produced by the SCPD and the contracting authority are available to everyone on the website

Author’s Note: The website is published in French. If your computer won’t translate it to English, I’ve included a link to the Offshore wind farm off the coast of Courseulles-sur-Mer PUBLIC DEBATE NEWSLETTER 1 [PDF] that is written in English.

The wind project’s planned footprint has already been reduced by 35% to lower the visual impact from the historic landing beaches. Developer Eolien Maritime France says it is “willing to respect the D-day memorial sites and wants to be involved with local initiatives to continue to keep the memory of the D-day landings alive”.

Author’s Closing Note: The offshore wind farm is projected to have a generating capacity of 450 MW when fully operational. It will include 75 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 6 MW. These tall sentinels will be visible from the shoreline even though they are between 6 and 10 miles from the Calvados coast, near Courseulles-sur-Mer.

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About the Author

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, and constant student of many studies. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution. I formerly designed and managed a clean energy website,

  • Breakingwind

    Why have several of my posts been deleated ??

    • Bob_Wallace

      Don’t know.

      • Breakingwind

        As a mod you should know !!

  • vetxcl

    It is in / near FRANCE. I live in the US. I’m NOT overly interested in manufactured drama/filler.

    Maybe the Germans can annex that section and install them, for all I care.

  • Breakingwind

    ( “total area will be 12 acres” )


    75 wind turbines separated from each other by a distance of
    around 1/2 mile is … approx 72km² or 18,000 acres.

    The construction costs alone (1.8 billion Euros) give an
    output price of €126/mWh, O&M costs + profit need to be added.

    On top of that you need to pay for the backup generation system
    (a mix of cool standby & hot spinning reserve ), to cover for the low/no
    wind times ( we’ve just had 6 day flat line over western Europe ).

    (you can un-tick boxes to look at each supply).

    So not cheap energy (French nuclear ≈ €70/mWh ).

    • Bob_Wallace

      The total area used by turbines will be 12 acres. They will be spread over a much wider area.

      “you need to pay for the backup generation system
      (a mix of cool standby & hot spinning reserve )”

      That’s a common misunderstanding (or intentionally stated piece of misinformation). Installing wind does not require building backup. It allows grid operators to turn off existing fossil fuel generation and save money as well as cutting CO2 emissions.

      The French reactors were build and paid off years ago. Their cost of electricity is not comparable to new capacity of any sort.

      • Breakingwind

        I’m sorry, but it is not misinformation.

        The problem with windmills is they only produce electricity when the wind is
        blowing, and having something ready to take over when the wind stops (to prevent losing power at our homes or businesses) is
        remarkably difficult. We still have no good way of storing power.
        Batteries are inefficient and after 100 years still not very reliable.
        Pumped hydro can be switched on instantly, but only provide for a fairly short time, before needing grid power to pump
        the water uphill again – and there are very few sites where we can build
        more (which would be both expensive and long term projects).

        Most other sources of generation take hours or days before they can
        produce power. The only way to have something ready to take over
        straight away is by running a CCGT gas station ready and synchronised –
        and that uses gas and produces CO2 while on standby (particularly as of
        course they are designed to be most efficient when they are producing
        electric) – and that means they are having to run inefficiently all the
        time the wind turbines are turning.

        • Bob_Wallace


          Wind displaces fossil fuel generation.

          Pumped-hydro can and does store many days of power.

          Batteries are very efficient and are being used on the grid right now to help deal with supply/demand fluctuations.

          Gas turbines can go from full off to full speed in less than 15 minutes. I can take another three hours or so for the thermal portion of a CCNG plant to reach full output, but the major part of the plant comes on line very quickly.

          • Breakingwind

            1 – ( “Wind displaces fossil fuel generation.” )

            Why do you think Denmark & Germany
            are building more fossil fuel generation ? Worryingly Germany is going for Lignite (about as dirty as you can get), with carbon capture ?? NO
            as it’s still a laboratory experiment.

            2 – ( “Gas turbines can go from full off to full speed in less than 15 minutes. I can take another three hours or so for the thermal
            portion of a CCNG plant to reach full output, but the major part of the plant
            comes on line very quickly.” )

            Indeed you are correct on your CCNG plant timings, but not on operating procedures.

            Problem is when the grid dips you don’t have 15 mins, the plant has to be already running & synchronized.

            On a stable grid, synchronization takes between 1-7 mins (depending on plant type & skill of operator), on an unstable grid I have seen it take 25mins (& a lot of brown underpants !!).

            3 – ( “Pumped-hydro can and does store many days of power.” )

            Sadly people have misconceptions on pumped storage systems; they are not there to cover the wild daily fluctuations in wind output, ( that’s dealt with by synchronized running reserve, normally gas turbines ).

            Pumped storage systems balance the instantaneous peaks & troughs, acting in response to short term rapid changes in power demand (coronation street cuppers) or a sudden loss of a major power station.

            Our local unit, Dinorwig is a STOR – Short Term Operating Reserve station & also a black-start unit.

            It took ten years to build and cost £425million in the 1970s

            Britain’s 4 major pumped storage schemes give –
            Dinorwig – 1659 MW for 6 hrs
            Ffestiniog – 360 MW for 7hrs
            Cruachan Dam – 440MW for 10hrs [worlds first, opened in 1965]
            Foyers – 305 MW for 21hrs

            Plus 2 small schemes are under construction (online 2016??)

            In an emergency UKs total pumped storage (23,279MW), could only supply 4% of max demand for 6hrs then 0.8% for 4hrs.

            Full recovery time is approx 17hrs & takes about 36,373 MW of surplus power !!!

            There are only 3 other possible sites in Britain
            which, if constructed would only give another 1 – 1.5% reserve but at a cost of £billions & take 8-10 yrs.

            Pumped Hydro is approx 70% efficient up & 90% down –
            – so 100% energy in x 0.7 x 0.9 = 63 % output… 37% losses !!

            4 – ( “Batteries are very efficient and are being used on the grid right now to help deal with supply/demand fluctuations.” )

            Like these you mean –


            Xcel Energy Inc. installed the $4.7m battery
            in 2008 next to a wind farm and operated it safely for more than two years. The
            sodium-sulfur (NaS) battery was shut down in October 2011 on the advice of its Japanese manufacturer after a similar unit caught fire there.

            Now, the Minneapolis-based utility says, the Luverne battery has been rebuilt by manufacturer NGK Insulators of Nagoya and is likely to be back in service by February.

            The 1 MWh battery can store enough electricity to power 500 homes for 7.2 hours.

            One shortcoming of some new battery technologies is the fire risk. After the
            September 2011 battery fire in Japan, NGK halted production of the batteries and advised customers, including Xcel and 19 other customers in North America, to stop using them. NGK later determined that a faulty cell had leaked molten material, triggering a
            short circuit and fire.


            $4.7m, 1 MWh sodium-sulfur battery can power 500 homes for 7.2 hours. !!

            NOT cheap OR clean OR safe !!

            lithium-ion batteries have similar problems –

            These technologies are not mature enough for a grid system to rely on, maybe in a few yrs but don’t hold your breath.

            To store 10% of uk average demand for 24hs using 1 MWh sodium-sulfur batteries would cost around $451 billion.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Why do you think Denmark & Germanyare building more fossil fuel generation ? ”

            Germany’s new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. These new plants were planned and construction was started prior to the decision to close nuclear plants.

            By 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

            Furthermore those plants will be more efficient, releasing less CO2 per unit electricity produced than are the ones they are replacing. And the new coal plants are partially load-following.

            Germany gets its natural gas from Russia. It would be politically dangerous to build their fossil fuel component around an undependable supply. Furthermore their new coal plants are capable of load following to some extent, which will further reduce the amount of CO2 they produce.

            Denmark, in 2009 or 2010, decided to build no more coal plants. Their coal consumption has been dropping.

            Denmark is building biogas and rubbish burning plants.

            They are converting at least one coal plant to natural gas.

            Denmark may be building new natural gas as fill-in for wind and using the combo to replace coal.

            What information do you have about Denmark building new fossil fuel generation?

          • Bob_Wallace

            2. NG plants are not used for grid smooting and very short term supply needs.

          • Breakingwind

            Bob, don’t be silly, that’s not what I said & you know it.

            Let me spell it out, intermittent ‘renewables’ have to be shadowed by load following hot spinning synchronized reserve (normally CCGT because of fast response).

            Most CCGT units work at optimum efficiency with a running load factor of 70 -85%, load following the predictable grid can be done with in these parameters; most don’t work well at below 25% load.

            When you add unpredictable intermittent supply you need to have sufficient synchronized running reserve to cover its capacity, less the firm capacity factor (UK
            wind is 11%).

            So we have the madness of machines having to run in their most inefficient condition, using more gas & putting out more CO2/MW than if
            they were producing full whack.
            And it makes us more reliant on gas, not good
            for energy security.

            As % of intermittent renewables rises, the problems of an unstable grid also rise, Denmark, Germany, Spain have all experienced unstable grids (Poland has had to put blocks on its German interconnections to save its own grid) plenty of info on
            the net .

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” intermittent ‘renewables’ have to be shadowed by load following hot spinning synchronized reserve (normally CCGT because of fast response)”

            No, intermittent renewables often are shadowed by load-following spinning reserve. That’s because it’s how we’ve backed up fossil fuel generation in the past.

            “Have to be” is incorrect. We now have wind farms installing “15 minutes” of battery storage. That means that no spinning reserves are needed. Gas turbines can be started up during the “last 15 minutes” of wind supply.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” Denmark, Germany, Spain have all experienced unstable grids (Poland has had to put blocks on its German interconnections to save its own grid) plenty of info on”

            That turns out to be BS.

            Apparently the “surge” problem is not due to Germany pushing excess renewable generation on to its neighbors’ grids, but what problems there are result from market forces. Money, not wind.

            “Poland and the Czech Republic charge that surges in renewable power are becoming uncontrollable, but the researchers could not confirm these findings.

            On page 76, they note that loop flows with Poland exceeding 2.5 gigawatts only occurred in 2011, when wind power production was between four and eight gigawatts. And “significant loop flows of up to 2,000 megawatts” occurred when wind power production was “virtually negligible.”

            So what is the problem? The researchers found that prices are high when production is also great. The way the market is designed, power might then be imported from neighboring countries (such as Denmark) if import prices are lower. This power then hits a congested part of the grid and is rerouted along a path of lower resistance. This outcome is not infrequent but also not directly related to surges in wind or solar power production as charged.

            Once again, price – not technical capacity – is the culprit. A number of Eastern European countries had even proposed that Germany and Austria, which currently share a power trading platform, be split – a demand that the researchers take as a clear indication that the market’s design, not surges in renewable power, is causing loop flows.”

            This is from a very interesting multi-part piece on Germany’s role in Europe’s electricity system. The quoted bit above is from the third part.

            I would suggest you read all four parts in order to better understand what is happening with renewable energy in Europe.



          • Bob_Wallace

            Pump-up storage is not used for short term grid smoothing.

            Hydro often is. Turbines are left spinning without load and can respond very quickly.

            Your pump-up efficiency claims do not match what I’ve seen.

            There are far more potential pump-up hydro sites in the UK. Read up on closed loop systems.

          • Breakingwind

            Bob, from your comments, you obviously have no experience of grid or power station operation.

            Here is a link to the company website –

            From it you will see that Dinorwig IS a STOR
            – Short Term Operating Reserve station & also a black-start unit.

            In an emergency, with all 6 units synchronized & spinning on air, we can go from 0 to 1.6GW in about 15sec (feels like an earthquake),
            but normal operation is 2 on air with a 90sec lead in & the next sets are run up & synchronized on air.

            We run tours of Dinorwig Power Station, so if you are ever in Snowdonia, look for ‘Electric Mountain’ you’ll learn a lot, (and you can ask our grid operators what they think of intermittent resources ).

            Yes – There are far more potential pump-up hydro sites in the UK. Most of them are not commercially viable; those that are have a 6-10yr construction timeframe.

            Another link to ‘the cave’ /wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your post confirms – hydro is one of the ways to deal with short term supply needs.

            Batteries are beginning to take over that role.

            Pump-up hydro is one of the ways we can store power for longer periods of limited wind/solar input. Raccoon Mountain has a capacity of 1600 megawatts (1.6GW) of electricity and can generate for up to 22 hours.

            These pump-up hydro systems were built to make nuclear reactors useful. They were not built for multiple day storage.

            You can take an existing power producing dam which has turbines sized for the inflow and turn it into a producer and a storage facility.

            Add a turbine/pump to the system and a “three day” reservoir below the dam. You now have a new pump-up storage system which can store three days of backup. Except when the winter/spring rains are keeping the upper reservoir full and the turbines are running full out you can store more electricity.

            What you are more likely to do is to curtail other capacity during those times and create nothing to be stored.

            I doubt that pump-up will be our preferred solution. We’re seeing battery technology beginning to emerge that will probably turn out to be as cheap or cheaper and has major transmission/siting/modularity advantages.

          • Bob_Wallace

            4. You are not well informed about the extent to which batteries are being used on the grid for storage and I’ve got no energy to do your research for you.

            But, nice job of cherry-picking. A bit more and you could bake us a pie.

          • Martin

            I totally agree with your point on renewable energy is not working to deliver the energy that Denmark, Germany just like Australia needs to investing more in fossil coal fired power generation for base load energy 24/7.

            Bob’s believes renewable energy will run United States of America by the end of this year, whack a few grid tied solar panels on people’s roof and it solves the world’s energy crisis. When Bob was confronted by Mark.W on carbon loading, he refuses to accept that grid tied rooftop solar houses have a carbon loading, which are highly dependent on fossil fuel. So what Bob did, deleted Mark.W from this site for telling the truth, & future events to happen.

            Any person, that Bob has a disagreement with, he deletes them, somewhat of a dictator, no freedom of speech for an individual person , personal view.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s a load of crap Martin.

            Put just a little effort into being truthful. It will do wonders for you.

          • Martin

            Ok then, But you did delete Mark.W to being truthful.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Mark, that is not why you were blacklisted.

            Please just go away and stay away. And quit spamming GTM. You’re one sick puppy.

          • Martin

            You didn’t deleted this one Bob?

  • Ross

    Six miles out the thing will be barely visible and in any case it will look great.

  • Dan Hue

    Climate change and sea-level rise threatens those beaches far more than wind turbines 6 miles off the coast.

    • Breakingwind

      I don’t see how planting a wind farm will stop the sea doing
      what it wants.

      • leia

        Flaunting ignorance does not win arguments

  • Bob_Wallace

    We’ve got a world war underway right now that threatens mankind even more than the dangers of WWII.

    If we don’t get our carbon emissions down drastically and rapidly the death count won’t be the millions of WWII, but the billions of the Great Climatic Collapse.

    This wind farm is six miles out to sea. It is not in the middle of the graveyard.

  • There are plenty of war memorials where we can celebrate our reverence for the futility and horror of man’s various conflicts over land and resources.

    This wind project may be seen as a tribute to the fact that, at long last, we are learning the lessons offered by the dismal tide of our history.

  • Matt

    I know lets remove all building, roads, fence, or any sign of man for 100 miles near any battle field that has ever happen! Is there anyone who thinks that sound ok? Not likely. To the un-aided human eye you will only just be able to see these from the beach. Do they block all air flights that are visible from the beach? No. Sorry but this is just bull. Let me guess if it were a oil or gas drilling platform it would be ok then.

  • JamesWimberley

    I second Ivor. In addition, the D-Day landings were a monument to planning and technical ingenuity: the instant harbour at Arromanches, flail demining tanks, midget subs for navigation, followed later by PLUTO, the undersea pipeline to Cherbourg. The sort of ingenuity and determination we need now to win our war on climate disruption.

    The one beach where the landings went wrong and the war memorial issue could be strong – Omaha -, is well west of the wind farm site. Soldiers died too on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, in much lower numbers, but you can’t treat every such place as a development-free shrine of remembrance. Should you stop hotels on the landing beaches? Or let life go one?

    Spain is building a wind farm at Trafalgar; the objections were muted.

    • Ross

      The engineering involved in D-Day and the months afterwards is an inspiration for the scale of ambition we need to rapidly decarbonise primary energy sources.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    The phrasing is all wrong. It should be considered an honor to have turbines, a symbol of beauty, elegance, and the future, mark the spot of all that bloodshed in the past.

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