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Published on December 24th, 2014 | by Tina Casey


More Offshore Wind Energy (€620 Million More) From French Nuke Company

December 24th, 2014 by  

Despite the shrieking drop in oil and natural gas prices, it’s still easy to find legacy energy companies that are forging ahead with renewable energy projects. The latest example comes from the French nuclear energy company Areva, which has just signed on to supply 70 turbines for the Wikinger offshore wind farm at an estimated cost of €620 million.

Come to think of it, isn’t it cheaper to build all this stuff when fossil energy prices are lower?

offshore wind energy

Offshore wind farm (courtesy of Ibderola).

Areva And Offshore Wind Energy

We’re interested in Areva because its leading history in the nuclear energy field hasn’t stopped the company from diving into renewables. That includes solar as well as wind, and last spring Areva announced that it will contribute its specialty membranes to an electrolysis-based hydrogen manufacturing process.

Just last summer, Areva partnered up with the wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa with the intention of nailing 20 percent of Europe’s offshore wind market by 2020.

The Wikinger offshore wind project demonstrates how quickly Areva has climbed up the renewable energy ladder, especially now that it has locked arms with Gamesa. The project is headed up by Iberdrola, and the figure of €620 million represents Iberdrola’s largest ever renewable energy contract. Another €70 million will go for a five-year extendable maintenance contract.

It’s also the first time Iberdrola will install 5-megawatt turbines in an offshore wind farm.

For those of you keeping score at home, the Wikinger offshore wind farm is a 350-megwatt project located in the Baltic Sea. At a total cost of about €1.4 billion, it will generate enough energy to power about 350,000 typical German households.

So Much For Germany — What About US Offshore Wind Energy?

The new project also demonstrates just how badly the US has been lagging behind the global offshore wind energy sector. Not a single offshore wind farm is in operation anywhere in US waters, which is nuts, considering that the Atlantic coast alone has enough offshore wind resources to power every city up and down the seaboard.

However, not to worry. Despite some heavy pushback from the Koch brothers (including the “invisible” Koch brother) offshore wind project are in the works for several East Coast states.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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