Sarkozy to issue €10bn offshore wind farms tenders

25 Jan 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to announce today the first round of bidding for 3GW of a planned 6GW of offshore wind farms using 600 wind turbines that are set for five sites between Saint-Nazaire and Dieppe/Le Trépory, off the French coastline.

On Sunday, Le Journal du Dimanche reported that the Regulatory Commission of Energy (CRE) will be in charge of the grants, with the average cost of each installation being €3.5m per megawatt. These offshore wind farms could start generating wind power by 2015 – a timely interjection seeing as France is aiming achieve 23pc of its power needs via renewables by 2020, with 6,000MW anticipated to come from wind power.

The 3,000MW total capacity of the new project will be the equivalent of three small nuclear power stations, according to Reuters.

Alstom and EDF Energies Nouvelles to respond

French firms Alstom and EDF Energies Nouvelles have announced they are going to respond jointly to the tender call from Sarkozy.

In a statement, Philippe Cochet, senior vice-president of Alstom Hydro & Wind, said: “We have gained experience in wind energy and possess an offshore technology that will enable generating electricity cost-effectively. Alstom is ready to develop an industry based in France generating jobs and exports.” 

Meanwhile, companies such as Vestas in Denmark and Siemens Energy in Germany are making vast strides in the offshore wind space. Vestas began producing wind turbines in 1979, while Siemens Energy has a strong wind-turbine portfolio. Just this January, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which is owned by the eponymous investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, announced it was purchasing 258 turbines from Siemens for projects in Iowa.

Last year, Siemens announced it was investing £80m sterling to develop an offshore wind turbine production facility in the UK.

How Ireland can make waves

Last May, Matthew Knight, energy distribution expert at Siemens, gave an interview to about how Ireland can capitalise on its wind and wave energy strengths.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic