GDF SUEZ Cooperates with VINCI and AREVA on Development of France’s Offshore Wind Industry

GDF SUEZ, VINCI and AREVA have signed a partnership agreement to build up a competitive, sustainable offshore wind industry which will bring jobs. The alliance has been formed to allow the groups to reply jointly to the call for tenders announced by the French President of the Republic in January 2011.

The government is targeting 6000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and intends to build five offshore wind farms along the French coast. This agreement will lead to the creation of an industrial platform around three major players with complementary expertise in renewable energies and construction It applies exclusively to three wind farms at Dieppe-Le Tréport, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp.

These three offshore wind farms should cover the electricity requirements of several million people for an average duration of 30 years. Their installation should mobilize thousands of direct and indirect jobs during their construction period and up to four thousand direct and long-term jobs for the industrial production, operation and maintenance activities.

GDF SUEZ is France’s leading wind power producer with almost 1000 MW of installed capacity. It has acquired comprehensive know-how across the entire chain which it now intends to enhance with its offshore projects. In France, GDF SUEZ works with a number of specialized subsidiaries and attaches great importance to its relationship with local communities and stakeholders. With its subsidiary La Compagnie du Vent, GDF SUEZ has been working on the Deux Côtes project. This zone is situated within the Dieppe-Le Tréport area being put out to tender by the government for an offshore wind farm with an installed capacity of up to 750 MW.

VINCI, world leader in concessions and construction, has become an expert in the financing and performance of major infrastructure projects. For this major offshore wind project in France, VINCI will be mobilizing both VINCI Concessions and its Contracting (construction and energies) branch, and will be taking full advantage of its firmly-rooted network of experts and integrators around the country.

AREVA has been present in the sector since 2004 and is Europe’s second-largest offshore wind industry player. Its 5 MW M5000 turbine has already brought in 600 MW of confirmed backlog with firm backing from Europe’s foremost banks. This proven technology and an installed base which will total more than 120 turbines by the end of 2013, puts AREVA in a position to propose an offer which is perfectly tailored to the requirements of the French offshore wind market. The group can boast unique operating feedback which will serve as a solid foundation for building up this market.

Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman of GDF SUEZ, said: “GDF SUEZ is pursuing its strong growth in renewables and confirming its ambitions as regards offshore wind. With its partners, GDF SUEZ is positioning itself as a key player in the creation of a true offshore wind industry in France. The Group will be providing its expertise as an integrated supplier of energy solutions, combined with that of its specialized subsidiaries”.

Xavier Huillard, Chairman and CEO of VINCI, said: “VINCI will be providing its expertise in concessions and in design and construction to build up the offshore wind industry. We are convinced that the quality of our combined expertise and our project for industry and employment will give us a tremendous advantage when we reply to future calls for tender put out by the French government”.

Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of AREVA, said: “Today, AREVA is poised to launch a new French industry by providing proven technological solutions and strengthening its presence, which will result in the creation of thousands of long-term jobs. This partnership with major operational French players constitutes an important project for the industrial and economic development of our country”.


Source: GDF SUEZ, May 19, 2011.