FLOATGEN Floating Offshore Wind Turbines in France
Floatgen, France first floating wind park near Saint Nazaire, was completed in October. Offshore floating wind farms has been increasing this year.
Commercial floating wind projects are to be commissioned in UK, Ireland, France and Portugal in the coming years and developers expect wider deployment to drive down costs as projects benefit from installation experience, economies of series and rising investor confidence.
Scotland have been grabbing most of the floating wind turbine headlines.
However, it looks like France gets a turn in the spotlight now.
The sudden growth spurt of the floating offshore wind market is significant because an estimated 80% of global offshore wind energy is located in waters that are too deep to make sense for conventional, fixed-foundation turbines. One key breakthrough in the floating offshore wind market occurred just last month, when Scotland’s Hywind offshore wind farm started to produce energy.
The Hywind project is regarded as the tipping point between pilot-scale R&D projects and full commercialization.
Hywind is also marks an important turning point for legacy oil and gas stakeholders that are transitioning into renewables. It was developed by Statoil, which has now dubbed itself “the global leader in floating offshore wind.”
In another development with broader significance, France’s first Floatgen project was completed in October and is ready to be positioned offshore. The project was able to leap ahead of at least six larger bottom-fixed offshore wind projects, which were delayed partly due to permitting and “local content” issues — two factors that can be minimized in the floating turbine field.
FLOATGEN objectives and applications
This project follows 3 main objectives :
- Proving the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of an EU technology floating system in deep waters
- Bringing wind energy applications closer to market in diverse European deep offshore areas
- Assessing the expected global generation cost per MWh in a 15-year perspective
- Define and validate appropriate methods and processes for the construction, installation, operation and access of the floating system
- Assess and validate its environmental impact
- Validate performance and cost of operation and maintenance
- Model a pathway for the reduction of energy cost from floating offshore WT system until cost values are comparable with fixed offshore wind structures and develop a roadmap
- Ensure replicability in other deep offshore locations and transfer knowledge through benchmarking activities
Floatgen is a public-private-academic EU consortium coordinated by Ideol, aimed partly at establishing proof of feasibility and assessing costs. Another key goal is to bring floating wind resources closer to their end users on the Continent.
The floating base was constructed near the Forme Joubert lock and was provided with a sendoff in “true naval fashion” on October 13, in advance of being towed out to sea.
According to the timeline, the full assembly won’t be towed out to its position at Centrale Nantes until some time next year, and then a demonstration and shakeout period follows.
Full commissioning is expected in 2019
The political winds are tilting heavily in favor of commercialization, with six gigawatts as a realistic goal split between Atlantic and Mediterranean applications.
France is also supporting the development of four pre-commercial (pilot) projects for a total capacity 96 MW. The projects will be sited in Mediterranean and Atlantic waters and due online by 2021. Ideol is a partner in the Quadran-led EolMed consortium developing a 25 MW pilot (pre-commercial) plant at the Grussian site in the Mediterranean.
Shorter mooring cables and lower installation costs reduce the TLP’s cost. The system is designed to be towed offshore with the rotor installed, an advantage that makes installation cheaper…
To learn more about this projet, you can read here the public available reports that have been produced from the very beginning of the project.
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