Port authorities at Cherbourg have begun preparations for the blade factory that Alstom and LM Wind Power will build as part of its manufacturing plans for the 6MW Haliade 150m turbine. With the blade factory due to open in 2015, the port is working to a tight timetable.
In the run-up to France’s first offshore tender, the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) agreed to allocate 38ha of land at Cherbourg to Alstom and an offshore wind development consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles. PNA also agreed to extend and reinforce an adjacent quay.
The consortium, known as Eolien Maritime Français (EMF), was subsequently awarded the right to proceed with three projects that will have a total capacity of just under 1.5GW.
The first phase of work consists of doubling the length of the quay to 680m and reinforcing it to take loads of up to 15t/m². Water off the quay will also be dredged to a depth of 14m, allowing it to accommodate jack-up vessels. This phase is due to be completed by November 2014.
In a second phase starting early next year, PNA will alter the port’s road and rail network to allow access to the blade factory and quay. Overall, PNA is investing €40m at Cherbourg as part of its strategy to create a marine energy hub.
Alstom also plans to open a tower factory at Cherbourg in 2015 and will store and assemble turbine components at the port. It has already begun building two factories to produce nacelles and generators for the Haliade at Saint Nazaire.
Series production of the offshore-specific turbine is due to begin mid-2014, confirmed Alstom last week. The company is waiting for the weather to clear to install a prototype at the Belwind site off the Belgian coast for offshore certification testing.