GE Renewable Energy has announced the start of production of 80 of its Haliade 150-6MW turbines at its Saint-Nazaire factory for what will be France’s first offshore wind farm at a commercial scale.

The routing of components and materials is currently underway, and GE will start the actual nacelle assembly at the plant in the second quarter of next year.

The ‘Eolien Martime France’ (EMF) consortium of France’s EDF Renewables and Canadian infrastructure firm Enbridge is slated to install and commission the 480MW Saint-Nazaire offshore wind array in 2022.

“GE is the major player in the creation and structuring of the offshore wind power industry in France and today we are happy to finally participate in this project and to concretely start production at our plant in Saint-Nazaire,” GE Renewables chief executive Jérôme Pécresse said.

EMF has also chosen GE Renewable’s grid solution division to manufacture high-voltage electrical equipment and protection and control systems at Aix-les-Bains, Massy, ​​Montpellier and Saint-Priest.

The offshore wind farm is expected to provide 20% of the electricity needs of France’s Loire-Atlantique department.

Once the 80 Haliade 150-6MW are completed, the GE plant in Saint-Nazaire will be converted to produce GE’s 12 MW Haliade-X, currently the offshore wind turbine with the biggest capacity in the world.