America's first offshore wind farm gets green light
Deepwater Wind has secured $290 million financing for America’s first commercial offshore wind farm off Rhode Island. Following the announcement late last week, Alstom on Monday confirmed it will be supplying five of its Haliade 6MW offshore wind turbines to the project, known as the Block Island Wind Farm.
According to Bloomberg, Deepwater Wind is now hoping to start offshore construction this summer, marking a major breakthrough for the US that has struggled to build offshore wind farms.
The Cape Wind scheme off the coast of Massachusetts has faced repeated legal battles with local fishing communities and Native Americans during its 13-year long development.
Meanwhile, Dong Energy, MHI Vestas and Siemens on Tuesday jointly pledged to reduce costs in the offshore wind industry during the next 15 years.
Michael Hannibal, chief executive of offshore for Siemens Wind Power and Renewables, said cost reduction remains “a top priority” for the industry.
“We need to create profitable investments for offshore projects independent of subsidies,” he said in a statement. “In a united industry, all stakeholders across the whole value chain are equally responsible to contribute and deliver. Siemens takes full ownership of this challenge. If we all do that, we will win.”
The three companies made the commitment as the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) published a new report predicting that that offshore wind power could be delivered at a levelised cost of €90 per megawatt hour (MWh) by 2030 from around €140 per MWh today. That would make it around the same cost as onshore wind power currently.
The study, carried out by EY, suggests larger turbines could contribute 9% cost reductions by increasing yields and reducing maintenance demands. Meanwhile, a steady project pipeline would deliver 7% cost reductions, as would increased competition in the supply chain.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.