Offshore wind power: GDF SUEZ, EDP Renewables, Neoen Marine and AREVA Commit to jobs and job training in the Pays-de-la-Loire region

At a meeting today with economic and political stakeholders from France’s Pays-de-la-Loire and Brittany regions, GDF SUEZ, EDP Renewables, Neoen Marine and AREVA reconfirmed their ambitions to develop innovative, concerted and local environment-friendly projects at the sites of the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier (Pays-de-la-Loire – 500 MW) and Le Tréport (Haute-Normandie – 500 MW). This project can mobilize close to 6,000 direct and indirect jobs involving numerous local companies, and thus promote the emergence of a true French offshore wind energy industrial sector, that will generate new jobs training opportunities, and innovation.

A priority: job creation in the Pays-de-la-Loire region
In its response to the government’s request for proposals, the consortium’s goal is to contribute to the region’s economic dynamism and the creation of local jobs throughout all phases of its project.
With support from the Nantes-Saint-Nazaire and Vendée Chambers of Commerce and Industry, local governments, Néopolia and Vendée Expansion, the partners have met with over 150 local businesses in relation to the construction and installation of wind farm foundations and substations. The port of Saint-Nazaire will become the logistics center for the construction of the Yeu-Noirmoutier project. With this collaboration with SMEs and large local groups, the consortium intends to create significant sustainable jobs in the region.
The partners will install a project maintenance center at two sites in the Vendée region, a main base at Port-Joinville (on the island of Yeu) and an auxiliary base at Herbaudière (Noirmoutier). Five hundred jobs, including 130 direct positions, will thus be created over 25 years.

A commitment to training for job skill development
In conjunction with its project, the consortium signed eight agreements with the University Institutes of Technology of Saint-Nazaire, the Le Mans Adult Education Grouping, the Pays-de-la-Loire region employment center, the job center of Vendée, the Nantes-Saint-Nazaire and Vendée Chambers of Commerce and Industry, as well as employment agency for the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier. The training benchmarks have already been developed in collaboration with the region. A 400,000-hour job training program will be carried out.

An environment-friendly operating installation
In addition to a 40% reduction of wind turbines made possible by AREVA’s 8 MW turbine, consortium companies are looking to install turbines on jacket foundations at the two sites. These foundations are indeed more environment friendly as they allow for the free passage through them of ocean swells and fish. The consortium’s choice of these foundations confirms the exclusivity agreement signed at the end of 2012 between AREVA and STX France for the development of an optimized jacket foundation technical solution.

During a meeting with economic and political stakeholders in the French regions of Haute-Normandie and Picardie, GDF SUEZ, EDP Renewables, Neoen Marine and AREVA have reaffirmed their ambitions to develop innovative, concerted and local environmentally friendly offshore wind projects at the sites of Le Tréport (Haute-Normandie – 500 MW) and the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier (Pays de la Loire – 500 MW).

Projects that create local jobs and economic activities

As many as 6,000 direct and indirect jobs could be generated, involving many local businesses. Supported by the local authorities, chambers of commerce, and industry, the consortium partners also met with more than 500 companies located primarily in Normandy, Picardy, Brittany, and Pays de la Loire, to build a local industrial ecosystem which will form the base of a robust French offshore wind sector.

These projects also support the development of the regional ports. At Le Havre, four plants will be established to manufacture the nacelles, blades, and other key components of wind turbines (bearings, multiplying gear, generators, etc.). In addition, the ports of Le Havre and Saint-Nazaire will provide support platforms for the construction of the wind farms. Moreover, the operation and maintenance centers will be installed at the ports of Dieppe and Tréport, as well as on the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, mobilizing local jobs as well.

Technological innovation is at the heart of the strategy

Research & Development also has a role to play in these projects. AREVA has announced the creation of an R&D center in Rouen with around a hundred engineers to reinforce cooperation already initiated by the consortium with local universities and research institutes to establish a French offshore wind industry, capable to export overseas.

AREVA’s 8 MW wind turbine, selected by GDF SUEZ, EDP Renewables, and Neoen Marine, is a symbol of the technological excellence that characterizes the consortium’s offer. Delivering optimum productivity and a reduction of up to 40% of the number of wind turbines for the wind farms, this turbine brings together the industrial experience and the recognized reliability of AREVA’s technological platform in the offshore wind sector.

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