Six Major Offshore Wind Energy Players Team up for an Ambitious Offshore Wind Power Project for France

The French government announced Monday the launch of a EUR10 billion tender offer to build five offshore wind farms, in a bid to muscle up the country’s renewable energy industry and reduce its longstanding reliance on atomic power. The wind farms, which will comprise some 1,200 wind turbines off the west coast of France, should generate 3.5% of the country’s energy output, the French ecology and industry ministries said in a joint statement. The farms will come online between 2015 and 2020.

The long-awaited offshore wind power tender is part of a wider government push to make renewable energy account for 23% of total energy production by 2020. It also comes as France’s government is under increasing pressure to reduce its dependence on nuclear power.

EDF Energies Nouvelles (Paris:EEN), DONG Energy, Nass&Wind Offshore, Poweo ENR, wpd offshore and Alstom are pooling their expertise and their investment capacity within a consortium created to respond to the "offshore wind energy" call for tenders launched on July 11 by the French government. These partnerships illustrate a shared commitment to create, in a team spirit, projects of excellence that are: technologically innovative, financially and technically sound, devised locally, mastered and ambitious for France’s industrial plan.

Initiator of the overall project and founder of the consortium, EDF Energies Nouvelles organizes and federates the partnerships, manages the future entity and coordinates the responses to the call for tenders. As an international leader in renewable energy, EDF EN provides its technological, industrial and financial expertise as well as its offshore experience from the construction of two offshore projects in the UK and in Belgium. EDF EN will own a majority stake in the parent company of the consortium.

With over 20 years’ experience in the Northern European offshore wind market, DONG Energy will bring its expertise as a specialist and pioneer in this sector. As a key player in the renewable energy industry, the Danish group is the utility company that has built and operates to date the most offshore wind farms in the world.

Experienced players for 5 projects of excellence

The consortium brings together three partners that are well-known and experienced developers: Nass&Wind Offshore, Poweo ENR and wpd offshore. Developers of very advanced projects in maritime regions selected by the French government, they will continue the development, conduct environmental impact studies and build local support. The five projects presented by the consortium will be held by five dedicated companies, in which the parent company will hold a majority stake beside the strategic developing partners.

State of the art technology at the heart of an ambitious industrial project

Cornerstone of the overall project, the exclusive agreement between Alstom and the consortium, for the supply of new generation offshore wind turbines, is a major decision that lays the foundations for the creation of a French industrial field. The launch in 2014 of a new, innovative equipment with unmatched performances will provide a unique opportunity to design a wind turbine using French technology, completely manufactured and assembled in France. If the consortium wins sufficient volumes, Alstom plans to build an industrial and technological hub in France comprised of manufacturing units for generators, blades and nacelles. This would be the centre of a vast economic and scientific ecosystem that would call on numerous French industrial subcontractors and create technological partnerships with several entities. Almost 200 providers from the offshore wind energy sector are committed in this project.

The six players are pooling their expertise to build solid solutions able to create a competitive, job-creating French offshore wind energy industry.

Nass & Wind Offshore has been developing for four years an offshore wind projects portfolio that represents more than 1,000 MW. Substantial human and financial resources and a methodology based on best practices implemented in Northern Europe have allowed the company to carry out impact studies and additional technical studies necessary to ensure the technical and financial viability of the developed projects. Nass & Wind Offshore is a subsidiary of French group Nass & Wind, based in Lorient (56).

wpd Offshore is one of the leader of Offshore Wind in Europe, with 10GW under development and 2GW already consented. wpd Offshore achieved last summer the construction of Baltic I WindFarm (21 WTGs, 1st German WindFarm in Baltic Sea). The group is in the procurement and construction phase for 2 others projects: Baltic II (320 WTGs, between 3 countries – Germany, Denmark, Sweeden) and Butendiek (80 WTGs, Germany).

In France, wpd Offshore develops many projects since 2007. Technical and Environmental studies on these areas were key factors for the development of these projects, together with the knowledge and consideration of local stakeholders.

Poweo ENR is historically the renewable subsidiary of the French alternative energy supplier Poweo and is one of the leaders on the French renewable market. The company develops, finances, builds and operates renewable power plants mainly in France, with a team of about 50 professionals. The company has 130 MW in operation (including 105 MW wind) at the end of H1 2011 and has a portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of projects in development in on-shore and off-shore wind, biomass and solar.

DONG Energy is one of the leading energy groups in northern Europe. Its corporate headquarters are in Denmark. DONG Energy’s activities encompass the generation, distribution and trading of energy. During 2010, the Group generated revenues of DKK55 billion (7.3 billion) and it has 6,000 employees. 

With operations in Europe and North America, EDF Energies Nouvelles is a market leader in green electricity production. With a development focused on wind energy for several years and more recently on solar photovoltaic, the Group is also present in other segments of the renewable energies market: small hydro, marine energy, biomass, biofuel and biogas. In addition, the Group is expanding in the distributed renewable energies sector. EDF Energies Nouvelles is a subsidiary of the EDF Group.

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,500 people in some 100 countries, and had sales of 20,9 billion in 2010/11.