Crown hunts Narec replacement at Blyth
The Crown Estate has started the hunt for a development partner for the 99MW Blyth offshore wind demonstration project.
The Crown Estate was due to partner with the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) on the site, and Narec had been seeking partners at the 15-turbine site. However, Narec merged with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult last month.
The 14km site won consent in November for largest offshore wind demonstration project in the UK. It is planned a location where developers can deploy innovative technology in deeper waters than usual; and scheduled to be operational by 2017.
Areva ponders deal for Alstom assets
Areva would be interested in considering a deal for Alstom’s wind turbines unit as part of General Electric’s proposed takeover of Alstom’s energy arm.
Luc Oursel, chief executive of Areva, told a French parliamentary hearing about nuclear energy that it would be willing to examine possibilities. However, he added that the French manufacturer was not currently in talks about a deal for the unit.
The government has been hostile to GE’s planned takeover of Alstom’s energy assets, and the sale of Alstom’s turbine activities to a French investor is one option to make the deal more palatable.
138MW South Africa project begins operations
The 138MW Jeffreys Bay scheme on South Africa’s Eastern Cape has started exporting power to South African utility Eskom.
Developer Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, which is a consortium that includes Globeleq and Mainstream Renewable Power, said the 60-turbine scheme is due to begin commercial operations later this month.
The development is one of the first wind farms being developed by the South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme; and is one of the largest wind farms in South Africa. It has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Eskom.
MHI Vestas considers Hull for UK factory
MHI Vestas is reportedly considering opening a new offshore wind factory in Hull as it seeks locations in the UK.
The company, a joint venture between Japanese giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Danish manufacturer Vestas, was officially formed on 1 April. The Hull Daily Mail said MHI Vestas is looking at a site in East Riding to build a factory employing up to 500 people. This would be close to a factory being developed by Siemens.
A spokesman from MHI Vestas said the company was keen to move to the UK and was exploring its options, but would not comment on Hull specifically.
WPD legal action over 1GW French tender
German developer WPD has launched a legal challenge against the French government’s award of a €4bn offshore tender to a consortium led by GDF Suez.
On 7 May, the government awarded the GDF-led group the right to develop two projects totalling 1GW. WPD was part of a rival consortium with French utility EDF and Alstom. The German firm is challenging the tender award for the 500MW project near the islands of Noirmoutier and Yeu, off the west coast.
WPD said the GDF-led group has chosen a foundation that was not compatible with soil at the site; and it wants a judge to investigate why energy regulator CRE recommended the GDF bid.
The Irish Government has unveiled changes to its second offshore wind tender that the industry said have created “massive levels of uncertainty”. We look at what this means for the up-to-80GW of offshore wind projects in development in Irish waters.