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Iberdrola group bids for 980MW in French offshore wind tender

Iberdrola and its four consortium partners have confirmed they submitted bids for two of the five zones up for grabs in France’s first 3GW offshore wind tender.

Bids for the tender were due in today, with a decision expected ahead of April’s French presidential election.

Iberdrola joined forces with four French companies – turbine maker Areva, construction giant Technip, and the design and development specialists Eole-Res and Neoen Marine – to bid for the Saint-Brieuc and Saint-Nazaire projects.

Saint-Brieuc and Saint-Nazaire – located off Northern Brittany and the Atlantic coast respectively – are worth as much as 1.25GW of capacity, though Iberdrola says its bid calls for 980MW.

Saint-Brieuc, the larger of the two, has emerged as one of the most desirable projects on offer, and is being pursued by at least two other bidding consortia.

Iberdrola’s announcement follows news that Siemens may get a toehold in the French offshore market, after a consortium comprising GDF-Suez and construction firm Vinci said they will use the German manufacturer's turbines as part of their bid for Saint-Brieuc.

GDF Suez is working with Areva on the other three zones it has bid for – the Dieppe-Le Tréport (departments of Seine-Maritime and Somme) zone, Courseulles-sur-Mer (Calvados), and Fécamp (Seine-Maritime).

If it wins, GDF Suez would develop the Dieppe-Le Tréport zone – containing the 700MW Deux Côtes project – through its Compagnie du Vent subsidiary. Another of its subsidiaries, Maïa EolMer, is studying a project in the Fécamp zone.

Meanwhile, a rival consortium comprising EDF-EN, Dong, Alstom, Nass&Wind Offshore, and Poweo ENR bid for the Fécamp, Saint-Brieuc, Courseulles-sur-mer and Saint Nazaire zones, with a combined capacity of up to 2.25GW.

Dieppe Le Tréport is the only zone that seems likely to have attracted just a single bid.

The feasibility of projects will be confirmed by October 2013, with construction expected to begin in 2015. The French government plans to launch a second 3GW tender soon after the first-round winners are revealed.

Despite the excitement surrounding the French tender, Areva delivered a stark warning that the festering eurozone crisis is depleting the pool of potential investment.

Areva says the five bids it has partnered on would cost at least €10bn ($12.8bn).