The offshore market represents one of the most promising areas for the development of renewable energies over the next decade, particularly the coastal countries of northern Europe, where the installed base should reach over 25 GW by 2020, and in Asia.
Gamesa and Areva are looking to capitalize on the growing offshore market sector through various means: expertise, innovation and investments in R&D to develop competitive and reliable technologies of the future; industrialization capacity and expertise in the development of a supply chain (both internal and external; and application of efficient onshore practices into offshore activities
According to Gamesa and Areva, the joint venture will benefit from significant synergies. Among them: the experience gained by AREVA since 2004 across several wind projects, notably through the ongoing installation of 120 5 MW turbines in the North Sea. The pairing will also leverage Gamesa's comprehensive technological capabilities in onshore and offshore, leveraged on its 19-years track-record in the industry throughout the wind value chain.
Furthermore, Gamesa and Areva will pool personnel and offshore wind-related technologies and assets to the joint venture: for Areva, the German Bremerhaven (turbine assembly) and Stade (blade manufacturing) plants, as well as offshore wind technology and commercial contracts. For Gamesa -- existing multi-megawatt technologies applicable to offshore, the 5 MW platform and Arinaga turbine prototype, as well as offshore related engineering, operation and maintenance capabilities.
Finally, the joint venture creates a preferred supplier agreement with Gamesa for some key components and fulfills existing industrial development commitments both in the UK and France previously led by Areva. This includes the creation of a turbine assembly plant and blades manufacturing facility at Le Havre as well as the implementation of a network of sub-contractors and partners.
"Likewise, this joint venture will pave the way for the creation of a leading and cutting-edge company in the offshore segment with know-how across the end-to-end wind energy value chain," said Ignacio Martin, chairman of Gamesa. The deal will provide Gamesa with an additional profitable growth platform and create material synergies with its onshore wind activities, he added.
Luc Oursel, president and CEO of Areva, concurred. "By choosing to create a European offshore wind champion with Gamesa, Areva is playing a key role in the consolidation (already under way) of the offshore wind sector." Furthermore, the deal confirms its long-term commitment to renewable energies.
The definitive agreements concerning the creation of the joint venture will be signed within the next few months following final negotiations between the parties and discussions with personnel representative bodies at Gamesa and Areva.