GDF Suez came away empty-handed, despite having submitted four bids. Rumours circulating last week indicated that all four projects would go to EDF EN, following the advice of energy regulator CRE.
In the end, the government decided to award the Saint-Brieuc project to the consortium led by Iberdrola, even though EDF EN offered a lower price. The government wanted "to give a chance" to a second group, spread its risk and maximise industrial benefits, said Besson.
The government did, however, follow CRE's advice to abandon a fifth project at Le Tréport, where GDF Suez was the only bidder. The purchase price was the highest among all the projects, explained the energy ministry.
In fact, all the bids exceeded the indicative tariffs specified in the tender. These were capped at €175/MWh and €200/MWh, depending on the location. Overall, Besson said the power prices will add around €1.1 billion a year to electricity bills.
The bidders' industrial plans also played an important role in their success. EDF EN has teamed up with Alstom for its projects, which represent a total generating capacity of 1,428MW. Alstom will supply 238 of its new Haliade 150 6MW turbines from four new factories to be built at Saint-Nazaire and Cherbourg. It will create 7,500 direct and indirect jobs, Alstom says, with production to start in 2014.
Iberdrola will use Areva's 5MW turbines for its 500MW project at Saint-Brieuc. Areva will build two factories at Le Havre to produce turbines and blades and will create around 2,000 jobs.
The winners now have 18 months to complete detailed feasibility studies analysing the technical and environmental aspects of the projects before embarking on the permitting process. Even if everything goes smoothly, it is unlikely any of the projects will be commissioned before 2017.
Consortium led by
Total 1928 MW