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Alstom shortlists five French ports

FRANCE: Turbine manufacturer Alstom is considering five French ports as a location for a factory to build its new 6MW direct-drive turbine for deployment offshore. It is planning a similar turbine plant in the UK.

Dunkirk, Le Havre and Cherbourg on the English Channel and Brest and Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast are in the running to host the French plant, which Alstom says would employ 1,000 people.

"We are consulting on the ports' capacity to accommodate a real industrial cluster," says Frederic Hendrick, vice-president of offshore wind at Alstom.

The UK plant could possibly be sited in eastern England and will supply the UK market, while the French factory would supply turbines for Germany and Belgium as well as the French offshore market.

France's long-delayed foray into offshore wind energy should finally get the green light this month when the government publishes its first 3GW development round.

Five wind zones have been identified: Le Treport (750MW); Fecamp (500MW); Courseulles-sur-Mer (500MW); Saint-Brieuc (500MW); and Saint-Nazaire (750MW). A second round of tenders will follow, aimed at getting France to its target of 6GW of offshore wind generation capacity by 2020.

In January Alstom and EDF Energies Nouvelles agreed to bid jointly for the first round, along with developers Nass & Wind, Poweo ENR and Germany's WPD. The consortium has said it hopes to win tenders to supply one-third of the 3GW of offshore generation with its 6MW turbines.

Alstom also plans to establish a hub for maintenance and logistics in a different port to the one eventually chosen for the manufacturing facility.

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