Vattenfall is the second experienced European offshore wind developer to confirm it will not participate in the next round of French offshore wind tendering. Its decision follows a similar announcement from Dong Energy.
"Within the utility sector, we see that the financial opportunities are not as big as one or two years ago. This means we have to prioritise with regard to our development and investment portfolios," explained Remco Boersma, Vatenfall's director of offshore new developments, to Windpower Offshore. The Swedish utility is in the midst of a group-wide cost reduction programme, following challenging financial results.
Vattenfall will focus on projects in Germany, the UK and, possibly, Denmark, which Boersma describes as markets "where we have permits in hand and are slightly more advanced in the development process".
During the first French offshore tender, only two large non-French utilities bid for projects – Dong and Iberdrola. Both were successful, winning projects as part of development consortia. With Dong having ruled itself out this time, Iberdrola says it has not yet made a final decision about whether to participate or, if it does, with whom it will partner. Likewise, Portugal's EDP Renewables, which previously said it hoped to participate, is still considering its options.
One company that will bid - probably for both projects - is EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), with Alstom as turbine supplier. It is in discussions with potential partners to form a consortium, confirmed a spokesperson.
One of EDF’s likely partners is WPD Offshore, which contributed substantially to the success of EDF-led bids for two first round projects, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp. WPD is particularly focused on the Noirmoutier site, which it has been investigating since 2007, said project manager, Brice Cousin. The company expects to make an announcement later this month.
Nass&Wind Offshore has also announced that it will participate in the second round. It was part of one of EDF’s successful first round bids, Saint Nazaire. The company is in the "final phase of exploring all possibilities in order to put together the most competitive bid, with the sole aim being to minimize the cost of the electricity produced," according to a statement issued this week.
Speaking with Windpower Offshore, Nass&Wind’s Xavier Ferrey said it is too early to reveal who it is in discussions with. However, it "has no obligation to partner with EDF EN".
In addition to Alstom and Areva, Siemens would like to be chosen as a prospective turbine supplier, confirmed Sylvain Grivaud, head of communications and marketing for Siemens France. The company is in discussions with potential partners, both on the developers’ side and as regards an industrial supply chain, said Grivaud.