French industrial firm, Alstom, has confirmed to Windpower Offshore that it will begin constructing one of its four planned offshore wind production facilities before the year is out.
The four factories – two at Saint Nazaire and two at Cherbourg – will create 1,000 direct and 4,000 indirect jobs, says the company. Alstom is to supply turbines for three wind farms being developed by an EDF-led consortium. The company reports that it has begun recruiting managers and engineers and that it will begin building one of the two Saint Nazaire plants this year.
Alstom's news adds weight to an announcement from the port of Nantes-St-Nazaire, on the Loire estuary, that it plans to invest €20m in establishing itself as a hub for the French offshore wind industry. Nacelles and generators for Alstom's 6MW Haliade turbine will be produced there and the port hopes to attract further offshore wind manufacturers, logistics, construction, and operations and maintenance (O&M) players.
In addition, Saint Nazaire boasts an eco-technology park, where Alstom installed the first prototype of its Haliade offshore turbine for initial, onshore testing.
The 500MW Saint Nazaire project, owned by EDF and Dong Energy, is the offshore wind farm closest to the port of Nantes-St-Nazaire.
A second offshore wind project not far from Saint Nazaire - the Noirmoutier site - is widely expected to be included in France's upcoming second offshore wind tender. In addition, the 500MW Saint Brieuc project is reasonably close by, and is being developed by Iberdrola and Eole-RES. STX has announced that it will produce jacket foundations for Saint Brieuc.