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French companies ally to optimise offshore wind turbine foundations

French firms Areva and STX France have signed a cooperation agreement to advance wind turbine foundation technology, as part of on-going efforts to bring down the cost of offshore wind.

Areva will bring its expertise in design and production of wind turbines to the partnership and STX France its know-how in specialised offshore foundations.

The agreement will see Areva and STX France make joint wind turbine and foundation offers on major European projects. If successful, STX France would design the foundations and take on responsibility for the complete or partial manufacture of the structures.

Louis-François Durret, CEO of Areva Renewables, said: “We are very happy to be collaborating with STX France and benefitting from their expertise. This will help strengthen the competitiveness of the French manufacturing base in the offshore wind French market and for export”.

Earlier this year, the French government announced the winners of its first round of bidding for offshore wind development around France’s coastline. In total, projects with a total capacity of 1.9GW were awarded tenders, with further rounds taking the total to 3GW expected to follow.

According to Areva, almost one third of investment expenditure in offshore wind farms is generated by the manufacturing, logistics and installation costs associated with the foundations and turbine towers. “[Foundation] optimisation is therefore a major lever for reducing overall project costs,” the company said, adding that for a wind farm with around 100 turbines, the savings of enhanced technology could be of the order of several tens of millions of Euros.

“This cooperation agreement with Areva, whose technology is proven for the European offshore wind market, will benefit our future customers. By bringing our engineering ability to the table, we will be in a position to offer an extremely efficient and competitive global solution”, said Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France.
 

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power

 

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