Technip Energies is a world-leading engineering and technology player for the energy transition. The company is widely recognised as a pioneer in floating offshore wind, having partnered with Equinor on the Hywind Tampen project - the world's first floating wind project to power offshore oil and gas platforms.

Today the company is applying its skills in support of full-scale marine energy projects to further accelerate the energy transition. Floating offshore wind (FOW) is a pivotal aspect of this strategy, with Willy Gauttier leading a dedicated FOW business unit at Technip Energies. Gauttier and his team will lead the EU-backed NextFloat project, which is specifically focused on accelerating the industrialisation of floating offshore wind.

Watch below for an Recharge Content Studio exclusive interview with Willy Gauttier, where we get his take on the challenges and opportunities in the FOW market, as well as an exclusive peak inside the company's work on NextFloat and beyond.

Watch the full interview below or scroll down to read the full transcript.

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Recharge Content Studio Interview with Willy Gauttier, Technip Energies - Transcript

Nick Skowronski: "Welcome to the program. Today we’re here with Willy Gauttier, VP of Floating Offshore Wind at Technip Energies, a leading technology and engineering firm for the energy transition. Thanks for joining us today, Willy.

Over the last few years, we've seen a massive increase in interest towards floating offshore wind. There's no doubt in floating wind's potential to help solve the challenges of the energy transition, however, due to challenges in financing, legislation, and perspective, there are some significant roadblocks towards meeting that full potential.

Can you make an attempt to quantify some of the opportunities associated with floating offshore wind? And, working so closely in the market, can you share some of your unique perspective on the biggest challenges and how we might overcome those challenges?"

Willy Gauttier: "Thank you for your question. Floating offshore wind (FOW) offers new opportunities as wind energy is one of the carbon free electricity generation systems to meet demand in a sustainable way. \

The floating offshore wind market will boom in the next 20 years -We speak about a pipeline of projects that will exceed 20 GW by 2030 and probably 60 GW by 2040. This is indeed massive, but to make it a reality we will have to ensure this sector is competitive compared to other renewable energies such as fixed-bottom offshore.

To do so, we not only need an optimised floater design that will be as light as possible, but even more importantly we need a design that can be fabricated in mass in an economical manner. We have a long history of delivering offshore projects and we dedicate a lot of resources and investment to this aspect of industrialisation."

Nick Skowronski: "Thank you for that, Willy! Recently it was reported that Technip Energies will lead NextFloat, a new EU project aimed at accelerating the industrialisation of floating offshore wind. Can you share a little bit about Technip Energies’ role and strategy within the project?"

Willy Gauttier: "Technip Energies, with its partner X1 Wind and a consortium of 10 leading international entities, has been selected by the European Commission to deliver the NextFloat project, an ambitious program accelerating industrial-scale floating wind.

NextFloat project’s main objectives is to demonstrate a competitive, sustainable and integrated floating offshore wind solution optimized for deep waters. The integrated solution relies on X1 Wind innovative and disruptive floating offshore wind technology, a lighter floater design requiring less steel and enabling a more efficient and restricted mooring system, ultimately minimizing the impact on the seabed.

The project includes the deployment of a full scale 6MW prototype at the Mistral test site in the French Mediterranean Sea to demonstrate the concept in operational conditions. The integrated system design, its manufacturing, assembly and installation procedures will be tested at a scale that is relevant for upcoming commercial offshore wind farms, requiring industrialized solutions for applications in excess of 15MW."

Nick Skowronski: "Earlier this year, Technip Energies signed a collaboration agreement on floating wind with Equinor for developing steel substructures on development projects. Now, your two companies have already been collaborating on the Firefly project in South Korea.

How has that collaboration helped to identify synergies between your two companies? And also, what advice would you give to other companies seeking partnerships in this?"

Willy Gauttier: "Equinor is a leading floating wind developer and a long-term client and partner in the offshore floating wind area. Technip Energies and Equinor worked together on the pioneering Hywind Demo pilot in Norway in 2009, which was the world’s first floating offshore wind unit. We share a common vision of accelerating the energy transition for a low-carbon future.

Technip Energies’ INO15 in-house floater design has been initially developed through the WindMoor joint industry project with Equinor, a collaboration that was initiated from the very beginning. With the FireFly project, we are further optimizing INO15 in terms of mooring systems, turbine integration and overall industrialization to deliver the 800MW wind farm while meeting schedule and budget performances.

Being involved with developers at the initial stage is crucial to enable an earlier engagement of turbine suppliers, a further optimization of the turbine-floater assembly and a better and timely involvement of the local supply chain and fabrication contractors to maximize local content.

Nick Skowronski: "Thank you, Willy. And finally looking to the future...what would you say is the next 'big thing' in the floating wind sector? And also for Technip Energies - what's next?

Willy Gauttier: "There are two key aspects to consider moving forward. First of all, we need to facilitate the integration of the turbine into the floater design, and we are advocating an integrated design that gives the full potential of the overall assembly.

Looking at the two elements isolated, as this is currently done, is suboptimal and a lot of improvement is expected from such an integrated design. Another aspect is a development of a robust supply chain in three main areas:

  • For key components such as mooring equipment, fairleads, chains and cables
  • For the fabrication industry with dedicated capacities and plants
  • And for marine installation with logistical hubs and specific assets such as anchor handling tugs to deliver the huge volumes predicted.

Technip Energies is engaged globally with key stakeholders to have a comprehensive understanding of the capacities available worldwide, and we will develop agreements to secure those capacities whenever."