“Turning point” for floating wind in France

The inauguration of Floatgen in the French port of St-Nazaire marks a “turning point” for floating wind as the sector prepares to enter commercial deployment. Ideol CEO Paul de la Guérivière said Floatgen, a Vestas 2MW turbine on Ideol’s ring-shaped concrete platform, was France’s first operating offshore wind turbine of any kind.

The consortium, which comprises Ideol, Ecole Centrale Nantes, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Stuttgart University, Fraunhofer-IWES, RSK Group of UK and Zabala of Spain, had already learned much in terms of design and construction method, he said.

Floatgen features a number of innovative solutions, such as the composition of the concrete and its construction to its nylon mooring lines.

Floating wind was already benefiting from the rapid fall in prices at fixed-foundation projects since around 80 per cent of the costs are the same, Mr de la Guérivière said.

The key driver was the increasing size of the wind turbine, and this is where the Ideol solution, “comes into its own because it is very compact and doesn’t increase in the same ratio as turbine size increases”.

Ideol’s floater can be adapted for turbines up to 15MW. The next stage for Floatgen is a month of pre-commissioning at the quayside, before being towed to a test site 12km offshore for installation.

Two years of tests will follow. Ideol will be monitoring the floater behaviour, trialling different strategies for turbine control, operation and maintenance, and optimising production.

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