By William Mathis (Bloomberg) — French energy company Total SA is hiring in the U.K. and Denmark to prepare to compete for government contracts for offshore wind farms.
The move adds to evidence of oil majors seeking to enter the wind business as governments everywhere look to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and spur cleaner forms of energy.
The Paris-based company is preparing to bid into an auction due to start later this year for an offshore wind farm in Denmark with an expected cost of about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), according to a job post on the company’s website. Giant renewable-power projects at sea are drawing increased interest from energy companies of all kinds, especially oil majors that are attracted by the scale of investment and security of returns.
Total has spearheaded the oil industry’s move into renewables by pushing more than $5 billion in technologies from batteries to onshore wind and solar farms since 2015. It has yet to win an offshore wind tender.
The French company had stakes in 3 gigawatts of renewable-power capacity at the end of last year. It’s seeking to double that in 2020 and targets 25 gigawatts by 2025.
The Danish project, known as Thor, is set to be between 800 megawatts and 1,000 megawatts, located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off Denmark’s west coast in the North Sea. Developers who want to bid for the project will qualify later this year and then submit bids.
Total is also hiring a number of people in the U.K., with job descriptions that include design and engineering for fixed-bottom or floating offshore wind projects in the U.K. and internationally. Last year, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said the company planned to participate in an upcoming auction for offshore wind sites in Scotland.
A spokesperson for Total had no immediate comment.
–With assistance from Francois de Beaupuy.© 2019 Bloomberg L.P