Alstom chooses French sites for 6MW turbine

FRANCE: Alstom has chosen Saint-Nazaire and Cherbourg as the manufacturing sites for its upcoming 6MW offshore turbine.

In July, the company announced that Dunkirk, Le Havre and Cherbourg on the English Channel and Brest and Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast were all in the running to host the French plant.

Alstom said the plants could generate up to 1000 jobs depending on orders. The company is one of those tendering for 3GW of offshore projects off the French coast. It is in partnership with EDF EN.

The Saint Nazaire plant will handle the manufacturing of generators and nacelles. Alstom’s offshore engineering centre will also be located here.

Blade and tower production will be centred in Cherbourg. The Alstom 6MW turbine's blades have been co-developed with LM Wind Power. A tower manufacturing partner is yet to be chosen.

Alstom is still searching for its UK manufacturing plant. Alstom vice-president offshore, Frederick Hendrick said the company is searching for a port where it can assemble turbines, build generators and blades.

Hendrick said he expected the plant to create around 1000 direct jobs. However, it is unlikely it is going to be announced by the end of the year.

In September, Edward Rae, global sourcing VP at Alstom Wind Power said the search was proving a challenge.

Rae said: "This is absolutely critical. Focusing on the UK, there aren’t that many ready-to-use port sites for somebody like ourselves that want to set up an industrial footprint, capable of dealing with towers, blades and generators.

"There are not many readily available sites where you can just turn up with a truck and then put up a plant and begin manufacturing."