Areva SA (AREVA), the supplier of turbines for three offshore wind-power projects in Germany, said it’s set to grab a share of the U.K. market, the world’s biggest, as developers move into deeper waters further from shore.
The Paris-based company, whose main business is nuclear power equipment and services, is talking with “many customers” across Europe and has “more projects in the pipeline” in addition to those announced in Germany and France, Jean Huby, head of Areva’s wind-power unit, said in an interview at the European Wind Energy Association conference in Copenhagen.
“We’re perfectly poised to make a strong play in the U.K. market,” Julian Brown, country director for Areva wind in the U.K., said in the interview. “Our competitiveness is as we move into deeper waters where the later Round 2 and Round 3 projects come into play.”
Britain in January 2010 awarded licenses for 32 gigawatts of projects in its third round of offshore wind farm tenders. The country is betting on the technology to help meet its European Union carbon emissions and renewable energy goals. Energy Minister Charles Hendry said in July that Britain is planning to develop 18 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020.
Iberdrola was part of a group with Areva that won approval this month from the French government to develop a 500-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Brittany. EON and Vattenfall are part of a group that developed the Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm, Germany’s first, where six of Areva’s 5-megawatt turbines were installed. That project delivered 15 percent more power than projected last year, the consortium said on March 5.
In addition to Alpha Ventus, Areva has sold 40 turbines to the Borkum West II wind farm and 80 to the Global Tech 1 wind farm, both off the German coast. With another 80-turbine project close to raising all its necessary funds, Areva will have more than a gigawatt of turbines installed before the U.K. round 3 projects start development in 2014 and 2015, Huby said.
“To raise the funding for the U.K. projects, developers need to be able to reassure people that this is going to work,” Huby said. By then, “we will have done this 80, 160 times,” he said, referring to the two largest German projects in deeper waters.
Areva, the world’s largest supplier of nuclear fuel and services, will add to its existing factories in Germany with a plant in Le Havre, France, to assemble turbines for the French project, Huby said. Brown said he’s developing an “industrial plan” for the U.K. that will involve bringing some manufacturing by Areva or its suppliers to the U.K.
Rivals Siemens AG, Suzlon Energy Ltd.’s RePower unit and Alstom SA (ALO) all have unveiled 6-megawatt turbines, while Vestas Wind Systems A/S is developing a 7-megawatt offshore machine. Huby said Areva too plans to develop bigger turbines, without providing further details.
“Of course we’re working on future generations of bigger turbines,” Huby said. “We’re not standing still on R&D. We’ll go higher. Don’t believe that 5, 6, 7 megawatts is going to be the limit.”
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