Wpd fights French offshore verdict

German renewables group Wpd has mounted a legal challenge to the awarding of one of two 500MW offshore wind development zones in the latest French government tender.

Wpd – which was part of a consortium led by French utility EDF that lost both 500MW zones awarded earlier this month – is questioning the process that led to the Vendée development site going to a rival group led by GDF, in partnership with EDPR and Areva.

Specifically, the German company wants a judge to examine why the GDF bid was recommended by France’s energy regulator, the CRE – a recommendation the government ultimately followed.

Wpd said: “On the basis of the public information shared during the tender phase, Wpd challenges the technical and economical reliability of the offer submitted by its competitor.”

The German developer has filed a legal action in France claiming “significant weaknesses on 9 out of the 16 tender criteria evaluation that would modify the rating of the candidates, and then the final award decision”.

Wpd has a particular issue with the choice of foundations for the zone, claiming its consortium was the only one to carry out site analysis that prompted the selection of gravity-base foundations for its own bid.

By contrast it alleges that its rival did not carry out such analysis and “have selected an anchored foundation (jacket) which is not compatible with the soil conditions and causes a significant risk on the project, and was deemed to affect several tender criteria”.

A Wpd spokesman said the legal challenge was initiated only by Wpd and not jointly with its consortium partners, GDF and turbine supplier Alstom.

Areva, supplier of 8MW turbines to the winning consortium, was not immediately available to comment on the matter.