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Areva, GDF Suez, Vinci Team Up to Develop Wind Farms in France

GDF Suez SA, Areva SA and Vinci SA will form a partnership to develop offshore wind power projects in France, where the government wants developments with 6,000 megawatts of generating capacity by 2020.

The partnership will be for three wind farms at Dieppe-Le Treport, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fecamp, according to a joint statement today. The projects may meet power needs of “several million” people for about 30 years.

France is planning to seek bids for 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind farms that could cost about 10 billion euros ($14.3 billion) to develop. French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has said the tenders may start at the end of the month. The country currently has no offshore wind capacity.

GDF Suez, owner of France’s natural gas network, was already planning to build one of the three projects, a 1.8 billion-euro wind park off northern France. The Deux Cotes project in the Dieppe-Le Treport area is now“being put out to tender by the government,” the utility said today.

Areva will have more than 120 installed turbines by the end of 2013 and is Europe’s second-largest offshore wind industry player, according to the statement.

French companies have identified about 30 sites for development of offshore wind farms, most located in the English Channel, according to a 2010 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. French sites considered favorable for offshore wind projects include one near Utah beach in Normandy, where Allied troops invaded occupied France during World War II.

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