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PARIS (Reuters) - French utility EDF (EDF.PA) announced a deal on Tuesday to build three offshore wind parks in France with Canada's Enbridge (ENB.TO), which will replace EDF's original consortium partner Dong Energy of Denmark.
EDF said in a statement that Enbridge would acquire a 50 percent stake in Eolien Maritime France (EMF), the company controlling the three future offshore wind farms with combined capacity of 1,400 megawatts (MW).
EDF renewables unit EDF Energies Nouvelles and Enbridge will jointly own EMF.
Enbridge, Canada's largest oil pipeline company, said in a separate statement it would pay C$282 million ($218 million) including transaction costs for the stake and that it would potentially invest up to C$4.5 billion (3.05 billion euros) in total for all three projects.
If the projects go ahead, construction would start from 2017 and continue through 2022, it added.
EDF renewables chief Antoine Cahuzac told reporters that Dong had wanted to take control of one of the parks. Since EDF wanted to keep control, it had put up Dong's share for sale.
Dong said its exit was consistent with its business model.
"When entering into offshore wind projects, we prefer to be in the lead of development, construction and operation. That was not the case in this joint venture, " a spokesman said, adding that Dong still considered France an attractive market for offshore wind.
EDF, then allied with Dong, won the first French offshore tender for three fields on the French west coast - Fecamp, Courseulles-sur-mer and Saint-Nazaire - in 2012. They will use 6 megawatt turbines made by Alstom (ALSO.PA), whose energy unit has since been taken over by General Electric (GE.N).
The first turbines are expected to be put into service around 2020-2021.
EDF EN and Enbridge have been partners since 2012 in Canada, where they jointly operate four wind farms with combined capacity of 830 MW.
The offshore projects are part of EDF's strategy to nearly double its renewables capacity to more than 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from 28 GW today.
Enbridge said it had interests in renewable energy facilities with net capacity of nearly 2 GW. The pipeline company says its investment in renewables will help stabilize its environmental footprint at January 2009 levels.
Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans