GDF, Areva win 1GW French offshore

The offshore wind consortium led by utility GDF Suez and using Areva turbines has been awarded both 500MW zones in the latest 1GW round of French government tenders.

The consortium – which also includes Portugal’s EDPR and Neon Marine – will develop offshore wind off the coast of Le Tréport, in the northwestern Haute-Normandie region, and between the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, south of Brittany.

The result was announced by French energy minister Segolene Royal.

The GDF group – which will use Areva’s 8MW offshore turbine – beat off competition from a rival consortium led by fellow French utility EDF.

The EDF bid had Alstom as its turbine partner – the industrial group currently at the centre of a high-profile takeover bid by GE of the US.

The outcome – which follows the earlier recommendation of France’s energy regulator – is a reversal of the first 2GW round of French tenders in 2012, when GDF was left empty-handed and EDF and Alstom were the big winners.

The winning consortium said the two wind farms will create almost 6,000 direct and indirect jobs.

A statement said: "The choice of the new Areva 8MW wind turbine will allow for increased productivity and enhanced performance, with a 40% reduction in the number of turbines and greater compatibility with fishing activity.

"This wind turbine also offers the advantage of cutting construction time and optimising wind farm maintenance."

The consortium sees construction of the two projects starting in 2019, with commissioning in 2021.