Alstom Starts Work at French Offshore Turbine Factories

Alstom SA, a developer of power equipment and plants, began work on two wind-turbine factories in France as the country expands renewable-energy capacity to curb reliance on nuclear generation.

The facilities in Saint-Nazaire, due to open in 2014, will produce 100 of Alstom’s 6-megawatt Haliade-150 offshore turbines a year, the company said today in a statement on its website.

France, as yet without any sea-based wind energy, plans to install 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind, tidal and wave power by 2020, its deadline for getting 23 percent of energy from renewables. It’s seeking to reduce dependence on Electricite de France SA’s 58 reactors, which generate about three-quarters of the country’s power, a higher share than any other nation.

Alstom, with partners EDF and Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S, was selected to build wind farms totaling 1,428 megawatts at three sites off Brittany and Normandy in April in a government tender. France announced two more offshore-wind tenders totaling 1,000 megawatts at Le Treport and Noirmoutier on Jan. 8.

Alstom, based near Paris, also plans two factories in Cherbourg to make blades and wind towers starting in 2015. The company intends to create about 1,000 jobs in France’s marine-energy industry, as well as about 4,000 jobs among its suppliers and sub-contractors, it said in today’s statement.

France got about 14 percent of its energy consumption from renewable sources at the end of 2011, according to a report published by the country’s sustainable-development commission last month.

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