GDF Suez to Bid With EDP for Wind-Farm Sites Off Northern France

GDF Suez SA and EDP Renovaveis SA will jointly bid to develop two 500-megawatt wind projects off northwestern France as the country expands clean-energy output.

The companies, together with third partner Areva SA, seek to install turbines off Le Treport and the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, GDF Suez and EDP said in a statement yesterday.

France opened the tender, its second for offshore wind, in March to attract investment of about 3.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion). The nation, which has no sea-based wind farms, plans to add 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind, tidal and wave power by the end of the decade, its deadline for getting 23 percent of energy from renewables as it scales back nuclear generation.

Bids must be submitted by Nov. 29 to the French energy regulator, and the government will decide on a winner next year.

GDF Suez also bid for a site at Le Treport in the first tender last year. It came away empty-handed after submitting an offer that was “extremely” costly, former Industry Minister Eric Besson said at the time. Electricite de France SA, Alstom SA and Denmark’s Dong Energy A/S were awarded three sites, while Spain’s Iberdrola SA won a fourth. They’ll need about 7 billion euros’ investment for 1,920 megawatts, the government estimated.

Renewables accounted for 16 percent of France’s total power output last year, with most coming from hydro dams, according to EDF’s grid unit.

EDF Energies Nouvelles, the utility’s renewables division, and Wpd AG have already announced their intention to bid in the second round.