French transmission system operator RTE has awarded a consortium consisting of Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Hitachi Energy Grid Integration a €4.5bn ($4.8bn) contract to construct offshore and onshore infrastructure for wind farms in Normandy and Oléron, France.

The contract covers the manufacturing of three offshore direct current electrical platforms and three onshore conversion stations for the Centre Manche 1 and 2 offshore wind farms in Normandy, and the Oléron offshore wind farm.

The platforms, each with a 1.25GW capacity, represent a scale-up in offshore renewable electricity production.

In Normandy and Oléron, the high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission systems provided by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Hitachi Energy will facilitate the integration of 3.5GW of renewable energy into the RTE network.

The selection followed an international bidding process, with the consortium chosen to implement the conversion stations for the upcoming wind farms.

Chantiers de l’Atlantique brings extensive experience to the project, having constructed more than a dozen offshore platforms for wind farms across France and Europe.

The company is known for its capabilities in manufacturing, construction and integration, and its turnkey delivery of large maritime structures.

Hitachi Energy, known for its HVDC technology expertise, was previously selected for the IFA2 and Bay of Biscay interconnections between Great Britain, France and Spain.

RTE management board chairman Xavier Piechaczyk stated: “This contract is a major step forward, which reflects a real change of scale, especially for offshore wind power. I’m particularly pleased that this translates into the development of the manufacturing industry in France and Europe.”

Hitachi Energy grid integration business managing director Niklas Persson said: “We’re proud to continue our long-standing collaboration with RTE to help bring renewable power to the French grid.

“The multi-project business model enables us to focus on our core technology and reflects our strategy to secure clear visibility of the future and, based on this, we are already hiring to expand our global delivery capacity.”

Chantiers de l’Atlantique managing director Laurent Castaing stated: “Our core business, the construction of major maritime assemblies, and our know-how, constantly consolidated by our quest for progress, enable us to meet industrial challenges.

“Today, we are ready for the construction and installation of the DC platforms. This project of unprecedented scale is a major shift in the long history of our shipyard. We would like to thank RTE and Hitachi Energy for their trust.”