French government on the edge of second tender

Second tender for 1,350MW of capacity to be announced on 16 September

The French government is likely to launch a second tender for at least 1,350MW of offshore capacity on Sunday 16 September, according to Marion Lettry, deputy commissioner for wind, hydropower and maritime energies at renewable-energy trade association SER.

The announcement will be made at the end of a conference on environmental issues, including energy policy, taking place this weekend, Lettry believes. The industry had feared that the tender, originally scheduled for April 2012, would be postponed until next spring. The need for concrete proposals to emerge from the forthcoming energy conference, however, must have concentrated minds.

The tender is likely to include a zone off Le Tréport, in the English Channel, for 600-750MW, and another for 600MW near the island of Noirmoutier on the Atlantic coast. There has also been talk of a third zone off Bordeaux, although this is not confirmed.

The Le Tréport zone was also offered in the first tender, when a consortium led by GDF-Suez was the only bidder. However, the government decided not to award rights because it considered the electricity price to be too high. GDF-Suez will now get another bight at the cherry. Once more, it is likely to be the only company bidding.

The competition will be a lot harder for the Noirmoutier zone. Here, French developers Nass & Wind Offshore and Neoen Marine and German developer WPD Offshore are all likely to bid.

The first tender saw four projects with a total capacity of 1,928MW awarded. A consortium led by EDF Energies Nouvelles won three zones totalling 1,428MW, while Iberdrola with Eole-RES came away with one 500MW zone.

The government is aiming for 6GW of offshore capacity by 2020.

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