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Vattenfall declares higher ambitions for French hydro electricity concessions

06 Jan 2012 16:32:15 | edem

Sweden's Vattenfall has doubled the amount of French hydro electricity concessions it hopes to win when the government's long-awaited tender process gets under way in 2012.

Leading a four-company consortium named FORCE HYDRO, Vattenfall is now looking to secure 2GW of the 5.3GW on offer, up from the 1GW, a company spokesman told ICIS Heren was a realistic figure in June 2010 (see EDEM 6 June 2011).

Other companies that make up the consortium are Luxembourg-based Arcelor Mittal, as well as French companies Rhodia and SNCF.

The head of Vattenfall France Frédéric de Maneville said in a statement that the group "brings together all the skills necessary for success in the competitive process of hydro concessions."

Competition

The consortium will face stiff competition from a number of other players, including incumbent generator EDF and fellow French utility GDF SUEZ.

EDF has previously stated that it will aim to win all concessions, 4.3GW of which it currently holds.

A spokesman for GDF SUEZ told ICIS Heren that the company also planned to bid on all concessions, and that it is looking to develop 1.5GW in hydro generation assets by 2016.

A number of other players are thought to be interested in the tenders, including Germany's RWE, Norway's Statkraft and Austria's Verbund, as well as Finnish utility Fortum ( see EDEM 21 December 2011 ).

The process was originally slated to begin before the end of 2011, running until 2013. A spokeswoman from the French energy ministry said she was unable to give a firm date for the first tender, which indicates the schedule may be pushed back.

Companies will battle it out for 10 different sites, located in the Alps, Pyrenees, and Massif Central regions.

The aim of the tender is to reduce EDF's dominance of the hydro sector and open up the market to new players.

Hydropower is the second-largest source of electricity production in France, representing around 12% of total production. TH

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