France’s long-delayed offshore wind sector took another step forward as turbine-maker Siemens Gamesa announced a firm order for one of the nation’s first wave of projects, the 496MW Saint Brieuc.

The OEM will supply 62 of its SG 8.0-167 DD turbines to the $2.7bn wind farm that Spanish energy giant Iberdrola will build 16km off the coast of Brittany, marking its first firm offshore wind order in France.

Siemens Gamesa will deliver the machines from a new factory it will build in Le Havre, adding to a French offshore wind industrial base that already includes facilities run by rival OEM GE Renewable Energy.

Siemens Gamesa offshore wind CEO Andreas Nauen said: “Making Bay of Saint Brieuc Siemens Gamesa’s first firm offshore order in France is a historic moment and a testament to our dedication to growth in the market.”

Jonathan Cole, Iberdrola’s global managing director for offshore wind, said: “Taking our final investment decision on a €2.4bn offshore wind farm and finalising the largest contract for that project, shows that Iberdrola is delivering on our promises to press ahead with our record investment plans.”

Italian cable-maker Prysmian was this week selected to supply inter-array cables for the project.

Saint Brieuc is set to be France’s second offshore wind farm when it enters service in 2023, behind the EDF-led 480MW Saint-Nazaire array that’s due online a year earlier.

The two projects were awarded in French government tenders as long ago as 2012, but legal challenges, planning delays and tariff revisions meant France’s fixed-bottom offshore wind journey will start years later than planned, although the nation does have a floating turbine in the water and has big ambitions in that segment.

Despite the slow start, analysts expect France to gather speed thanks to a tendering programme that aims to learn from its early mistakes.

Rystad said it expects the nation to hit 7.4GW by 2030, a tally that would put it number-four in Europe behind only the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

However, the French wind sector is underwhelmed by a government target of between 5.2GW and 6.2GW under latest national energy plan proposals, arguing the fixed-bottom ambition should be greater.