Areva still keen on UK production

Areva still expects to site offshore wind manufacturing facilities in the UK, despite a reduction in the likely sizes of the key British and German offshore markets, Arnaud Bellanger, the chief executive of Areva Wind told a panel at the Windforce conference in Bremen.

Asked by Recharge whether it makes sense to expand its industrial base in offshore wind in Europe when the company currently has many of its staff at factories in Germany on short time, Bellanger said Areva will maintain its policy of developing plants close to the wind farms it equips.

"We will keep our industrial footprint in Bremerhaven and Stade, we will develop in France with the Le Havre plants to manufacture for France and the south of the UK.

"And for the northern UK, we plan to develop some industrial footprint," he said.

Bellanger said when UK contracts for Areva are confirmed, the company will develop its industrial base there as well.

"It's part of our DNA to develop in the countries where we will have turbines. For sure, the European industrial footprint of Areva will be in Germany, France and in the UK."

The Areva Wind CEO didn't disclose at what locations in the UK the company is looking, but said the site selection is ongoing.

In late 2012 Areva, which is majority owned by the French government, confirmed plans to build an offshore wind turbine factory in Scotland – possibly near Edinburgh.

On its offshore wind joint venture with Spanish turbine maker Gamesa, Bellanger said: "What we expect from this partnership with Gamesa is technological synergies...and the ability to have more people to develop more quickly our 8MW turbine."

He added: "Our aim is to create a European champion."