Alstom will manufacture and deliver the turbines to the project site, located 45 kilometres off the German coast in the North Sea, in 2016.
The French turbine manufacturer said the deal is the largest contract for its 6MW Haliade turbine outside of France. This deal is a significant opportunity for the company, vice president of offshore wind Anders Soe-Jensen told Windpower Monthly. "We are getting off the ground now. It’s a major milestone for us.
"This is [our] largest contract outside France. It is 400MW and it is in one of the most important offshore markets in the world, the German market," he added.
The Haliade turbine has been contracted for use at three French offshore projects developed by the Eolien Maritime France consortium: the 450MW Coursuelles-sur-Mer, the 498MW Fecamp project and the 480MW Saint-Nazaire site.
It is also destined for the 30MW Block Island project in the US, which began construction last month. The turbines will be transferred to the US in early 2016, Soe-Jensen said.
Soe-Jensen believes Alstom will be able to secure a place amongst the top three offshore turbine manfuacturers in Europe with the Haliade, despite Siemens offering a 7MW and MHI-Vestas' V164-8MW.
"Larger turbines are not necessarily the answer to everything," he said. "It is a matter of lowest levelised cost of energy. That can be obtained either by a big effective turbine or a smaller cost-effective turbine. There are two ways to look at this. Either your capex is very low or your production is very high, that is the mathematical answer to that question," he said.
Soe-Jensen said that the Merkur site was perfectly suited for the Haliade turbine. According to Windpower Intelligence, the MEG 1 project had been slated to use the Areva 5MW turbine, now owned by joint venture Adwen.
Last month, Windreich and engineering and construction firm Deme formed the Merkur Offshore GmbH joint venture to build and operate the offshore project. Deme has been involved in the project since April.
As part of the deal, rights to the MEG 1 project were transferred from Windreich to the new company and the project name was changed to Merkur Offshore.
Work on the project was originally intended to start in 2014, but Windreich filed for insolvency in September 2013, delaying the project's progress.
In June last year, Windreich was given another 22 months to start construction under its permit with German authorities.
The new clause in the consent document states that project approval will expire unless construction activities have been started by 26 February 2016. The original permit, granted in 2009, had set the deadline at 30 April 2014.
Deme has contracted its GeoSea vessels subsidiary to install the project. Its Neptune vessel is currently installing turbines at the 49.5MW Kentish Flats Extension project for Vattenfall.