Spanish company Gamesa signed an MoU with Bard Holding GmbH to jointly develop and market offshore wind turbines and services. The MoU also gives Gamesa the right to develop manufacturing facilities for producing Bard offshore wind turbines under licensing contracts. According to the chairman of Gamesa, “Working together, Gamesa and Bard will become leading players in the world’s offshore wind power market in Europe, USA and Asia”.
France initiated the bidding process for nearly 3,000 MW of offshore wind projects that could cost about $12.7 billion to develop. The country plans to set aside five to 10 offshore areas that have been evaluated for their environmental compatibility. The zones are still being studied and no decision has been made about which will be included in the tenders. The tender process will evaluate the engineering costs of each project in order to set the price at which power from these projects can be sold to French utilities.
French natural gas network GDF Suez SA is already planning a €1.8 billion 705-MW wind park about 14 km offshore Le Treport in northern France, which is being assessed for its environmental impact. Other sites also considered favourable include one near Utah beach in Normandy and areas off Britanny and Languedoc-Roussillon in the Mediterranean Sea. The government is targeting 6,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2020.
UK’s energy market regulator, Ofgem opened the second round of tendering for high-voltage transmission links worth £1.9 billion for six offshore wind projects. Winning tenders for the first links will be announced in summer 2011. This is the second tender round in the offshore transmission regime, which is a joint policy initiative between the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Ofgem, to encourage cost-effective investment in the vital network links between the offshore wind farms and the mainland grid. Companies will be competing for the right to own and operate the links to 2.8 GW of offshore wind farms for the next 20 years.
Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa earmarked an investment of over €90 million in China from 2010-2012 in order to reinforce its manufacturing capacities in the country. The company already has four wind turbine components plants with a 3.18 GW project in pipeline. Now it plans to bring two more factories on stream where it is targeting a production capacity of 1.5 GW of turbines per year in 2011. In sync with its expansion plans, Gamesa also bagged an order to supply 1.32 GW of turbines for wind power projects being developed by Chinese companies Guangdong Nuclear Wind and Datang Renewable Power from 2010-2013.
At the same time, American company GE signed a joint venture with HEC, a subsidiary of the power plant equipment giant Harbin Power Equipment, under which the new company will manufacture GE-designed wind turbines for near-shore and offshore applications in China. GE will hold 49 per cent of the stake and 51 per cent will belong to HEC. The duo will also work to develop wind turbines for offshore projects in China using direct drive technology.
India and Denmark have decided to explore possibilities of co-operation in the areas of ship designing, maritime training and education, offshore wind energy and GHG emissions. According to an official statement, the decision was taken when Mr. Brian Mikkelson, Danish Minister for Economy and Business Affairs, met up with Mr. G.K. Vasan, Indian Union Minister for Shipping.
Google plans to invest in a transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast to help accelerate offshore wind development. The Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia and will be able to connect 6 GW of offshore wind turbines. It will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it efficiently via sub-sea cables to the strongest, highest capacity parts of the land-based transmission system.
The AWC project is led by independent transmission company Trans-Elect Development Co. and is financed by Google, Good Energies and Marubeni Corp. Google is investing 37.5 per cent of the equity in this initial development stage and plans to obtain all the necessary approvals to finance and begin constructing the line.
The US’ Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has launched a new wind energy initiative, Smart from the Start, to speed offshore wind energy development off the Atlantic Coast. The move is expected to facilitate siting, leasing and construction of new projects. Salazar said the focus now needs to be on implementing “a smart permitting process that is efficient, thorough, and unburdened by needless red tape.”
Under the ‘Smart from the Start’ initiative, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will work with state partners to identify wind energy areas (WEAs) off the coasts of a number of Atlantic states, including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts within the next 60 days.