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Areva Studies Asia Offshore Wind Projects as Turbines Get Bigger

Areva SA, a French atomic-reactor, offshore wind-turbine and biomass-plant maker, is studying Asian wind projects as the region seeks to cut fossil-fuel reliance.

The company is looking for opportunities in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan, Jean Huby, chief executive officer of the company’s wind unit, said in an interview. Areva would have to build factories in Asia to supply those markets, he said.

Areva, Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Siemens AG aim to expand in Asia as China plans 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2015. Japan, trying to diversify after a 2011 tsunami that caused a nuclear meltdown, may also install 7,500 megawatts of sea-based turbines by 2051, according to the Japan Wind Power Association.

“Today the key offshore wind market for Areva is Europe where the conditions are best for offshore but definitely we are looking outside as well and are ready to take action,” Huby said by phone. Areva is raising the size of the rotor in its 5-megawatt model to increase output by 8 percent to 10 percent and cut costs for projects further out to sea, according to Huby.

“We are working on larger machines because the trend will be in deeper waters,” he said. Denmark’s Vestas is developing an 8-megawatt offshore turbine and Siemens of Germany has said its next big machine would be about 10 megawatts.

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