France awards offshore project contracts

France awarded contracts for four of five planned offshore wind farms. (Graphic: French environment ministry)
France awarded contracts for four of five planned offshore wind farms. (Graphic: French environment ministry)

The French Ministry of the environment released the results of the first round of tenders for offshore wind farms on April 6. According to the announcement, three of the five contracts for offshore wind projects were awarded to the EDF Energies Nouvelles/Dong Energy/Alstom consortium. The Iberdrola/Eole-Res/Areva consortium was awarded a single contract. A contract for the fifth project has not been awarded yet. The GDF Suez/Siemens joint venture came away from the bidding empty-handed.

Following the announcement, Alstom announced that it would build four new factories in Cherbourg and Saint-Nazaire, as the company promised. Alstom will build nacelles and generators at the Saint-Nazaire facility, while rotor blades and towers for Haliade 150 turbines will be manufactured in Cherbourg. A total of 240 Haliade 150 turbines will be installed at the newly awarded projects in Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp. Alstom will start deliveries of the turbines in 2014.

The Iberdrola consortium was awarded a contract for the Saint-Brieuc project,  where 100 of Areva’s  5 MW turbines will be installed. To supply the project, Areva will build two new production facilities in Le Havre, one for turbines and one for rotor blades. Saint-Brieuc is slated to go online between 2017 and 2019.

In the first round of offshore projects, some 2,000 MW of capacity will be installed at a cost of some € 7 billion. The Pays-de-la-Loire, Bretagne, Normandie and Haute-Normandie regions are hoping for the creation of some 10,000 manufacturing jobs directly related to the projects. The French government expects to issue a call for tenders for round-two projects in the second half of this year.

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