"We are working on the due diligence process," a Gamesa spokesperson told Windpower Monthly without divulging further details. The companies announced in January that exclusive negotiations were under way to form a joint venture.
Asked to comment on news reports that Areva has expressed interest in buying the offshore wind division of Alstom and whether this affects the process, Gamesa said: "We are working on the creation of a joint venture with Areva in the offshore segment, and this process continues forward regardless of other possible operations."
In addition to the Bremerhaven turbine assembly plant and Stade blade manufacturing factory, both in Germany, to be brought into the joint venture by Areva, "the venture will fulfil existing industrial development commitments both in the UK and France," Gamesa added.
Areva has now placed its offshore wind sector among "discontinued activities" in its renewable energies business group.
In parallel with their separate due diligence, the companies are working on setting out a framework contract, a shareholder agreement, agreements on the transfer of assets and liabilities, and an agreement on the purchase of critical components, with Gamesa being the preferred supplier.
The collaboration would cover Areva's 5MW offshore turbine, and would have the two parties working on the development of an 8MW machine.
Significantly, Gamesa's 5MW turbine is not included in the deal. The manufacturer will continue to build the turbine, but it will now be marketed solely for onshore use. However, the joint venture would work on an "enhanced" 5MW turbine based on Gamesa's technology.
Both companies have previously announced that they are working on machines around the 8MW mark designed for offshore use. In November, Areva announced plans to build an 8MW turbine, which it expected to prototype in 2015. Serial production is set for 2018.
Gamesa has been planning a 7-8MW turbine since 2010, although most of its efforts have been spent on the 5MW machine.