General Electric Renewable Energy has ceded the rights to supply turbines for two French offshore wind farms potentially totaling nearly 1 gigawatt to its rival Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
GE said it is giving up its status as exclusive supplier to three offshore wind farms being developed by Eolien Maritime France (EMF) because delays since 2012 had “significantly impacted the financial characteristics of those projects.”
GE said it remains committed to supplying its Haliade 150 6-megawatt turbines to the first EMF project to clear longstanding authorization hurdles. EMF, meanwhile, confirmed it had selected Siemens Gamesa to supply turbines “of similar dimensions” to the two remaining projects.
EMF, which is owned by the French developer EDF and Canadian energy-infrastructure company Enbridge, is hoping to develop a total of almost 1.5 gigawatts of wind capacity across three locations: Fécamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Saint-Nazaire.
When the capacity was awarded seven years ago, the EMF consortium was made up of French industrial leader Alstom, state-owned utility Électricité de France (EDF) and Danish power company Dong Energy, now renamed Ørsted.
Alstom Wind, which was acquired by GE, was due to supply 240 turbines at a cost of €2 billion ($2.6 billion). But various legal challenges slowed the progress of the projects, and in June last year the government dealt a further blow to their chances by cutting the tariffs that had been promised from 200 euros ($225 today) to 150 euros ($169) per megawatt.
In the meantime, GE has pumped money into a dedicated engineering office in Nantes and a manufacturing plant in Saint-Nazaire, which has already produced more than 80 turbines for other offshore wind farms in Europe, Asia and North America.
Refocusing on the 12-megawatt Haliade turbine
Although EMF claimed its legal wrangles would be resolved soon, GE said it would now refocus its manufacturing efforts on a 12-megawatt turbine design, the Haliade-X, which is more appropriate to wind farms on the drawing board today.
GE’s withdrawal from the last two EMF projects could hand Siemens Gamesa almost a gigawatt of turbine sales if the smallest plant, the 450-megawatt Courseulles-sur-Mer wind farm, is the first to clear legal hurdles.
EMF said Siemens Gamesa was a logical replacement because it had already partnered with EDF on the supply of turbines for the 62-megawatt Teesside Wind Farm in the U.K. and was due to deliver machines for EDF’s Provence Grand Large floating project in France.
Siemens Gamesa said it had signed a framework agreement with EMF that included the supply and 15-year servicing of up to a gigawatt of its 7-megawatt SWT-7.0-154 direct-drive offshore turbines, to be made in a yet-to-be-built manufacturing facility in the Port of Le Havre, France.
The move comes as GE struggles to gain market share in the hyper-competitive offshore wind turbine market.
Its French projects were expected to form the bulk of its European offshore turbine orders, with the rest of the market being mostly split between SGRE and MHI Vestas, according to a BNEF analysis in February.