French energy group Engie and Portugal’s EDP have taken the next step in their plans to become a ‘top five’ global offshore wind player with the signing of an agreement create a co-controlled 50/50 joint-venture (JV) for the sector.

The agreement inked follows the announcement last May by the pair of a strategic memorandum of understanding to form a new entity to develop bottom-fixed and floating wind projects worldwide, “bringing together the industrial expertise and development capacity of both companies”, and combining assets and an project pipeline amounting to a total of 1.5GW under construction and 3.7GW under development.

In a statement yesterday (23 January), the partners said the JV, which is subject to certain conditions precedent such as European Commission regulatory approval process, is expected to be operational “during the first quarter”. A name for the new entity has not yet been made public.

The JV will start life with a portfolio encompassing the operational 950MW Moray East development off the UK, Belgium's 487MW SeaMade project and the 25MW WindFloat Atlantic floating array off Portugal, as well as the in-development 950MW UK Moray West off the UK, 992MW Tréport & Noirmoutier and 30MW floating Leucate off France, 2.1GW Mayflower and 400MW B&C Wind in the US Atlantic and the 100-150MW Redwood Coast Project off California.

By 2025, their target is to reach five to seven gigawatts of projects in operation or construction, and five to 10 gigawatts under advanced development.

As well as creating a new global bottom-forced heavyweight, it will also be a major booster of floating wind, joining the top ranks of the sector alongside Equinor, with the JV’s COO Grzegorz Gorski saying last year that it wants to do for the floating wind sector what offshore wind pace-setter Orsted has already done in fixed-foundations.