Alstom has the right corporate structure and the solid financial backing required to succeed in offshore wind, according to Frédéric Hendrick, the French company's vice-president for offshore wind.
Hendrick was speaking last week, as Alstom announced the beginning of certification testing for its Haliade 150 6MW wind turbine, which has just started producing power at a test site in Saint-Nazaire, north western France.
"In offshore wind, size really matters," said Hendrick, "not just turbine size but also project size and company size." Alstom is in a strong position to make its mark in what is an increasingly-competitive sector, he said.
Renewable energy represents a mere 10% of Alstom’s annual global sales of nearly €20bn, with hydropower and onshore wind the company’s main areas of renwable activity. But with predicted growth of more than 30% a year, offshore wind power represents "the most attractive segment in this business", said Hendrick.
Alstom will supply 240 turbines to three French offshore projects being pursued by EDF and its partners (Windpower Offshore 11-Jun-12). A key factor in the success of the EDF-led consortia was the promise of an industrial plan creating four manufacturing facilities and about 1,000 jobs in France.
Hendrick said Alstom is ready to open an industrial base in the UK "if orders [for Round 3 projects] firm up". Any UK factories would assemble turbine nacelles, towers and blades from imported components, he added.