Vinci and Strabag invest in wind

By Sandy Guthrie23 May 2011

Strabag is involved in wind farms in the German North Sea.

Strabag is involved in wind farms in the German North Sea.

Vinci and Strabag are both taking steps into the offshore wind power industry, looking at the French coast and the German North Sea respectively.

French-based Vinci has signed a partnership with wind power producer GDF Suez and turbine producer Areva. This alliance has been formed to allow them to tender together following a call for tenders by the French government in January.

Strabag, meanwhile, has acquired a 51% stake in two holding companies to develop, build and operate offshore wind power plants. It already claims that it has the necessary know-how as planner, builder and logistics partner for the construction of wind power plants through its German-based company Strabag Offshore Wind.

The French government is targeting 6000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2020, and intends building five offshore wind farms along the French coast.

The Vinci/GDF Suez/Areva agreement is aimed at combining the groups' skills on three wind farms at Dieppe-Le Tréport, Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp. It is planned that these three wind farms will cover the electricity requirements for several million people for 30 years.

Vinci said it would be using both Vinci Concessions and its Contracting (construction and energies) branch in the projects.

Xavier Huillard, chairman and CEO of Vinci, said, "Vinci will be providing its expertise in concessions, and in design and construction, to build up the offshore wind industry. We are convinced that the quality of our combined expertise and our project for industry and employment will give us a tremendous advantage when we reply to future calls for tender put out by the French government."

Austrian-based Strabag and project developer Northern Energy Projekt have agreed to manage 15 offshore wind farm project development companies jointly under the umbrella of two holding companies. These companies will develop up to 850 wind power facilities in the German North Sea, to be built over the next 10 to 15 years.

Strabag said that based on the 5 MW wind turbines which are the norm at the moment, this would yield a total possible installed capacity of about 4000 MW, which could serve 5 million households.

The Strabag investment is subject to approval from the German and Austrian cartel authorities.

Siegfried Wanker, member of the Strabag management board, said, "We have realised that many projects have a problem meeting the various implementation criteria on time, such as approvals, grid consent, financing, and construction and supply contracts, due to their mutual dependencies.

"We bundle development and construction capacities, which makes us more flexible and will allow us to achieve essential synergies in the future."

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