Two French offshore windfarms with a combined capacity of 1.0 GW are to be built using turbines from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy after GE Renewable Energy withdrew from the deal.
GE Renewable Energy said it had reached agreement with Eolien Maritime France (EMF) terminating its involvement with the projects, which would have seen it supply Haliade 150-6MW turbines.
However, although it is stepping away from two of the three projects, it said the memorandum of understanding it has signed with EMF will see it continue to provide and service Haliade 150-6MW turbines for one of the trio of windfarms – whichever of them ‘first clears any legal recourse.’
The agreement relates to the turbines for two of a trio of French bottom-fixed windfarm projects all of which were delayed for years due to permitting and other problems outside the turbine manufacturer’s control.
The projects being developed by EMF, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Saint-Nazaire and Fécamp, were finally approved by the French Government after the tariffs for the projects were reduced but remain the subject of appeals.
GE, which is focusing its effort in the offshore wind industry on its much larger Haliade-X turbine, a 12-MW unit, said cumulative delays since 2012 had significantly impacted the financial viability of the projects for the company. “GE therefore decided to review its engagement in the implementation of all of the projects,” the company said.
“Since the award of the three offshore windfarms to EMF in 2012, GE Renewable Energy has committed the necessary resources and investment to design and manufacture the turbines, including a dedicated engineering office in Nantes and the construction of manufacturing facilities in Saint-Nazaire,” the company noted. This has enabled GE to produce more than 80 turbines for other offshore windfarms in Europe, Asia and North America, but the economics of the French projects have changed significantly in the years since EMF won the contracts to develop them.
Highlighting advances in technology in the intervening period such as the fast growth in the size of turbines, GE said it planned to focus on developing the Haliade-X in future. It will use its facilities at Saint-Nazaire, Nantes and Cherbourg for the ongoing development and commercialisation of the new turbine.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy confirmed it has signed a framework agreement with EMF covering the supply of SWT-7.0-154 DD turbines for two, as yet unidentified projects, but said that the deal is subject to a contract being signed and a final investment decision taken for the windfarms. The deal will also include a 15-year service agreement.
The SWT-7.0-154 DDs will be assembled at Siemens Gamesa’s planned manufacturing facility at Port of Le Havre France, which itself is currently under development.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy chief executive Markus Tacke said, “We thank EMF and its shareholders for their trust. This agreement strengthens our position in France and strengthens the prospects for the facility in Le Havre.