A new generation of offshore wind power
Offshore floating wind turbines exploit the greater power provided by stronger, more consistent offshore winds. This new technology enables the installation of energy conversion systems in depths greater than 50 metres, which means that these floating generators can access a denser energy resource, at the same time as limiting the visual impact from the coast.
An enormous market by 2020
Floating wind turbines provide access to areas of the sea that are currently unexploited, but offer enormous market opportunities. Its potential is three times superior to the traditional offshore wind systems. In France, a floating wind power installed base of 500 MW off the Brittany coast could provide 10% of the region’s energy needs by 2020. By 2030, the French market could have as many as 10 of these wind parks generating some 20 gigawatts of electricity. The potential is equally impressive elsewhere in Europe, and floating wind power could account for 15% of all electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 2030. In countries where coastal conditions are particularly well suited to this technology, that contribution could be more than 30%. Global production could eventually achieve 20 gigawatts per year. DCNS intends to exploit its specialist knowledge of the marine environment to push forward the development of this technology and play a key role in this new market. The industrial deployment of this new industry sector, which will begin with a commercial wind farm of up to 100 turbines, will be achieved within the framework of the French government’s upcoming tendering round for wind power, and will be based on the innovative floating wind turbine technology known as Winflo.
The Winflo project: a growth-generating industrial venture
The goal of the Winflo project partners – DCNS, Nass&Wind, Vergnet, Ifremer and the ENSTA Bretagne engineering graduate school – is to develop the first generation of offshore floating wind turbines in France. The Winflo programme focuses on the development of the first commercial offshore floating wind farm by 2020. Winner of the invitation for expression of interest issued by Ademe (the French Environment and Energy management Agency) in 2010, Winflo was awarded the Pôle Mer-Bretagne global economic competitiveness cluster label in 2008. The complementary skills and expertise of the project partners have made it possible to provide Winflo generators with an innovative semi-submersible flotation system, a lightweight generator designed specifically for this offshore application, and a special anchoring system. The first demonstrator will be tested at sea in 2014. On completion of an intermediate phase for the manufacture and installation of the first pre-production models, the joint venture partners expect the first operational floating offshore wind farm to be installed in 2020.