Iberdrola submits bid for french offshore wind farm tender

The Commission de Régulation de l’Energie (CRE) is expected to make a decision in April and the first plants will be commissioned in 2015
The consortium in which it is involved together with, French companies Areva, Technip, Eole-Res Consortium and Neoen Marine, is bidding for two of the five zones offered, which have total capacity of 980 MW and are sited off the Brittany and Atlantic coasts
The consortium in which it is involved together with, French companies Areva, Technip, Eole-Res Consortium and Neoen Marine, is bidding for two of the five zones offered, which have total capacity of 980 MW and are sited off the Brittany and Atlantic coasts

A consortium led by Iberdrola, who have their global offshore wind power headquarters located in Glasgow, has announced the submission of two bids for wind energy projects off the Brittany and Atlantic coasts as part of the French Government’s competition to install up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind turbines capacity.

The consortium includes Eole Res, specialists in the design, development, construction and operation of renewable energy projects, together with turbine manufacturer Areva, engineering and construction company Technip, and the developer Neoen Marine.

With the offer made to the French energy regulator (Commission de Régulation de l’Energie) the consortium hopes to win two of the five contracts offered in the first phase. The result of the tender, for a total of 3,000 megawatts (MW), is expected to be announced in April. It is expected that the first wind farms will be commissioned in 2015.

Specifically, the consortium headed by Iberdrola hopes to be awarded 980 MW, divided between two areas: Saint-Brieuc, located in Côte d’Armor (Northern Brittany), which has a potential maximum capacity of 500 MW, and Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) on the Atlantic Coast, with a potential capacity of 480 MW.

The offshore wind farms that Iberdrola and its partners hope to install off the French coast will be able to meet the electricity supply needs of around 1.3 million costumers.

Iberdrola, which has been conducting wind energy and feasibility studies in both locations for several years, believes these are some of the best sites in the world for this type of renewable energy projects.

In fact, France is, today, one of the most attractive countries for the development of this technology, so achieving success in this tender is a key strategic priority for Iberdrola, especially since the French government announced its aim to achieve offshore wind farm capacity of 6,000 MW by 2020.

The company signed agreements with four prestigious French companies with extensive experience in the domestic electricity market.

The first one was signed with Areva, and, if successful, Areva would be the exclusive supplier of the turbines for the new wind farms, while Iberdrola would be responsible for their start-up and operation. Areva will build the turbines at its new factory in Le Havre, northwest of France.

The second agreement was signed with Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry, which joined the consortium as a construction and engineering partner.

Last October the consortium gained another partner in Eole-Res, which brings to the table its know-how in the tendering of renewable projects in France, where it is among the leading developers of onshore wind farms with over 500 MW of installed capacity. It also contributes its technical expertise in the sphere of offshore wind engineering via its subsidiary RES, a specialist in offshore energy which has developed over 350 MW in the UK and which currently has an additional 5,000 MW under development in Europe and the US.

Finally, in December the consortium signed a deal with Neoen Marine, a company that specialises in marine energy with extensive knowledge of the areas where the project will be implemented. Neoen will assist with all local procedures, environmental and technical research and securing regulatory approval.

Committed to offshore wind power

As part of its commitment to the different types of renewable energies, Iberdrola is currently developing a large number of offshore wind power projects. To achieve this goal, Iberdrola has set up an Offshore Business Unit based in Scotland to promote the gradual start-up of the offshore wind farms in the project pipeline, which now stands at over 11,000 MW worldwide.

Iberdrola, via its British subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables, has started to develop, in partnership with the Danish company Dong, its first offshore project in the UK, named West Of Duddon Sands. Some 500 people will be involved in the construction of this wind farm.

West Of Duddon Sands will have capacity of 389 MW, sufficient to supply electricity to 300,000 homes in the UK, and when it is operational, sometime within the next three years, it will be one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.

Iberdrola has finished the plans for the project and has signed a wind turbine contract with Siemens worth nearly €700 million. It has also ordered two state-of-the-art vessels from two leading Danish naval companies specialising in offshore wind power, for the construction of the site. These vessels, the Pacific Orca and the Sea Installer, which are currently under construction, will transport all the parts from the port of Belfast and install the whole wind farm.

Other long term Iberdrola offshore wind energy projects include East Anglia Offshore Wind Power Porject, which is being developed jointly with Swedish company Vattenfall in English waters. When completed, it will be one of the world’s largest offshore wind turbines complexes, with 7,200 MW of capacity.

The first permits are expected to be granted in 2012 with construction beginning in 2015, and it is expected to supply electricity to around 5 million homes and create 8,000 jobs, giving a significant boost to the local economy.

East Anglia will extend over 6,000 km

Other initiatives in Europe

This project is in addition to others in Germany, Spain and the UK amounting to an additional 2,500 MW. Amongst these is Wikinger, a wind farm in the German Baltic Sea. The facility will use 5 MW turbines and total installed capacity will reach 400 MW. Iberdrola expects to present the final plans for this project at the beginning of 2014 and offload the first kilowatts to the grid in 2016.

Wikinger is located in the northern part of an area known as Westlich Adlergrund, which the Germany authorities have designated as a Priority Offshore Development Area, around 40km from the nearest coast, Rügen island. The average depth is around 39 metres.

Iberdrola will also develop the Argyll Array wind farm in the UK, whose capacity will range between 500 and 1,800 MW.

With renewable operations in 23 countries, Iberdrola is the world leader in its sector by both installed capacity (nearly 13,450 MW at the end of September 2011) and output (over 20,700 million kilowatts hours generated in the first nine months this year).