PARIS, July 25 (Reuters) - A consortium led by French-based Quadran and a consortium of French group Eolfi and Chinese nuclear group CGN have won tenders for pilot floating wind parks off the coast of France, the companies said.
The two contracts are the first awards in a tender for four offshore sites, one in Brittany and three in the Mediterranean, launched by French environment agency Ademe last year.
The tenders are France’s first attempt at testing floating offshore wind technology on an industrial scale. Portugal and Norway have pioneered floating technology with a single floating turbine each, but the French project is set to become the first to test floating offshore wind on a large scale.
Floating turbines are built for waters deeper than the roughly 50 metres maximum for foundation-based turbines and offer huge potential as they are not limited to shallow coasts.
Unlisted renewable energy specialist Quadran said on Monday the government had awarded it a contract to build a 24 megawatt floating wind farm with four turbines 15 km off the Mediterranean coast at Gruissan.
Germany’s Senvion will provide the turbines while French construction firm Bouygues and French offshore floating platforms specialist Ideol will provide the platform. Development and construction will take four years and the turbines are set to run for between 15 and 20 years.
Eolfi and CGN said they had won a tender for a floating offshore farm off the island of Groix, Brittany, for four turbines.
General Electric will provide the turbines while French naval group DCNS and French construction firm Vinci will provide the platform.
The companies gave no financial details but the government has made 150 million euros ($165 million) available, one third as investment subsidies, two thirds as a loan.
The next two contracts are expected to be awarded later this year or early next year.
France lags behind Germany, Denmark and Britain in offshore wind, but also hopes to catch up with the launch of two fixed-foundation offshore tenders with a combined capacity of about 3,000 MW, due to be built from around 2020 onwards.
The consortium members for those tenders - French utilities EDF and Engie, Spanish utility Iberdrola and Portuguese utility EDP Renovaveis - are also possible bidders for the floating offshore tenders. ($1 = 0.9103 euros) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by David Holmes)
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