London — Oil major Shell's new energy unit has joined a consortium for the 500 MW offshore wind project at Dunkirk to be tendered by the French government in H1 2019.
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The venture known as Moulins de Flandre also includes Belgian offshore specialist DEME, which was already preselected by the French regulator CRE for the project, and French marine renewable energy firm Quadran, it said.
Last week, French prime minister Edouard Philippe launched the final phase for the tender, with candidates submitting offers in Q1 and the winner to be announced by mid-2019.
Energy minister Francois de Rugy voiced hopes that the third French offshore tender would reflect sharp cost declines for offshore wind over recent years after the French government renegotiated tariffs for six offshore wind projects, with a combined capacity of 3 GW awarded in the first two rounds back in 2012 and 2014.
Those subsidies still amount to more than Eur20 billion ($23 billion) over the 20-year duration of the contracts. None of the projects has reached an investment decision yet, mainly due to lengthy court cases.
Feed-in-tariffs for those first six projects will still be around Eur150/MWh, well above current tender levels across Northern Europe, with German and Dutch project already tendered without subsidies.
The first six projects are now expected to be put into operation between 2021 and 2024.
Shell is already part of a successful consortium that was awarded the 730 MW Borselle 3 and 4 offshore wind tender in the Netherlands at Eur54.60/MWh.
Construction work for the Dutch Borselle 3 and 4 project is expected to start next year, with commissioning planned for 2021.
Shell's New Energy unit plans to invest an average $1 billion-$2 billion per year until 2020 in mainly renewable energy projects, it said.
--Andreas Franke, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Jonathan Fox, email@example.com