French renewable energy developer Quadran plans to invest about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to build 2,000 megawatts of new power generation capacity over the next decade, its CEO said on Wednesday. Quadran is one of several privately owned renewable energy developers competing fiercely in a French market still dominated by the former monopoly electricity company EDF and gas firm Engie. In July, Quadran and Eolfi, another small developer, won the first two tenders for pilot floating offshore wind parks, tenders in which the two big power firms also bid.
Following a 45 million euro capital increase last year, Quadran is now 70 percent owned by founder Jean-Marc Bouchet, 15 percent by public investment bank Bpifrance, with several investment funds holding stakes of a few percent. Quadran’s 400 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity in wind, solar, biomass and hydro power is dwarfed by EDF and Engie which each have worldwide capacities of more than 100,000 MW. “We are certainly a mosquito compared to the big two, but in terms of installed capacity in renewables in France, they are actually only about three times bigger than us,” Quadran CEO Jerome Billerey said.
Quadran has 400 MW under construction, which will double its installed capacity to 800 MW by 2018. It then expects to operate 1,000 MW by 2020 and 2,000 MW by 2025. “We plan to build about 2,000 megawatts over the next 10 years on top of the 400 we have now,” Billerey said. This represents a 3 billion euro investment, of which 500 million will be financed with equity and the rest with debt.
“That is nothing compared to Hinkley Point, yet it will produce 30 percent of the power Hinkley Point will produce,” he said, referring to EDF’s 21 billion euro project to build a 3,200 MW nuclear power station in England. Quadran operates only 10 MW abroad now, but has 800 MW of mainly wind and solar power under development in Morocco, Tunisia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Ghana, Burkina Faso and other countries. Floating offshore wind power is only a small part of Quadran’s investment plan, but Billerey sees huge potential. France is expected to award the next two floating offshore tenders soon and Quadran hopes to win at least one more.
Billerey said offshore winds were so steady turbines can turn about half of the time, and up to 70 percent in winter, making it a quasi-baseload power such as coal or nuclear. He said cutting costs was the main challenge for floating offshore. Now about 250 euros per MWh, it needs to fall to 100 euros/MWh for the industry to become viable, he said.