Alstom Grid looks ahead to East Anglia tender

French offshore substation contracts yet to be awarded

Alstom Grid has "high hopes" of being commissioned to deliver substations for three planned French offshore wind projects. The company is the preferred supplier for three developments due to be built by an EDF-led consortium. However, contracts have yet to be awarded, explained Alstom Grid division president, Grégoire Poux-Guillaume, speaking with Windpower Offshore.

Alstom Group's €2bn/year renewable power business is a member of the EDF-led consortium that earlier this year won the right to develop three of France's first four offshore wind farms; Saint-Nazaire, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp. The projects will be powered by Alstom Power's 6MW Haliade turbines.

Alstom Grid provided support during the EDF-led consortium's preparation of its tender bids, and these bids incorporated Alstom substation technology and prices. This puts Alstom Grid in an advantageous position to win the substation supply contracts, but a decision is not expected until next year, said Poux-Guillaume.

UK & German challenges

As keen as Alstom Grid is to supply the French substations, these projects are smaller and would bring fewer technical challenges – and, consequently, command lower prices – than many of the upcoming opportunities in Germany and the UK, acknowledges Poux-Guillaume.

A bid to supply the substation for the first phase of the UK's East Anglia zone is on Alstom Grid's horizon this autumn.

Poux-Guillaume is noticeably enthusiastic about the technical challenges posed by some of the sites earmarked for offshore wind in UK and German waters. Greater distances from shore and more difficult meteorological and/or seabed conditions mean that electrical system suppliers such as Alstom are likely to propose advanced technological solutions, including offshore voltage source converters (VSCs).

Alstom Grid's experience in the design and construction of offshore wind substations is considerable. The company has delivered substations for several UK projects, including Barrow, Ormonde, Robin Rigg and Sheringham Shoal. In Germany, it supplied Alpha Ventus' substation and has won similar contracts for and Borkum West II, Meg 1, Baltic 2 and Veja Mate.

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