“With the war in Ukraine, energy autonomy is becoming an issue of national sovereignty. However, oil and gas, we do not have any. Neither does uranium. Wind, yes! sums up, skillfully, Thibault Fauquant, head of the company Omexon Conversion & Storage, based in Saint-Évarzec, near Quimper (29). Wind turbines as the royal road to energy independence? “In addition to nuclear, yes! “says the 35-year-old entrepreneur. “Renewable energy is no longer an option but an obligation. The climate emergency requires us to step up the pace”.
Store intermittent energy
This energy, produced by the wind or the sun, nevertheless remains dependent on fluctuations in the weather. “Yes, it is, by nature, intermittent and does not necessarily correspond to the peaks of consumption of the population”, concedes Loïc Fortin, responsible for commercial development of the company. “This is where we come in since we offer battery storage solutions. We build turnkey power plants that convert, store and redistribute electricity at constant power,” explains the 28-year-old salesman. In the event of overproduction, these plants also have a buffer effect by withdrawing power from the network. The energy is stored for a short time, approximately one day, but sufficient to support the stability of the network.
To win the calls for tenders, Omexon Conversion & Storage, a subsidiary of Vinci, highlights the experience acquired since 2014. “We first worked in the overseas territories, in Guadeloupe, in Martinique and in La Reunion,” recalls Thibault Fauquant. The level of sunshine and their dependence on fossil fuels, such as coal and fuel oil, made them priority territories for the installation of photovoltaic power plants.
A feat in Dunkirk
“From now on, we work more and more in mainland France”, specifies the company manager who employs about fifty employees. By carrying out in Dunkirk, for Total, the most powerful electrical energy storage system in France, the Quimper company hit hard. Commissioned a year ago, the Dunkerque 1 and Dunkerque 2 power plants combine, between them, a 61 MW energy storage system. Cost of the operation? Around €30 million. To date, the company has not yet inaugurated power plants in Brittany.
“We also offer an alternative, with less ecological impact, to the motors used in France to maintain the 50 Hz frequency,” explains Loïc Fortin. Instead of starting an engine that runs on diesel or gas, Omexom Conversion & Storage offers batteries capable of injecting several tens of MW into the network in less than a second.
As a logical consequence, the company’s turnover is soaring. “From €1.80 million in 2017, we have increased to €17 million in 2021 and expect more than €20 million for 2022”, predicts Thibault Fauquant.