Engie can do for floating turbines what Orsted has done for fixed-foundation offshore wind – but drive down costs even faster, claimed a senior executive at the French energy giant.

Grzegorz Gorski, head of centralised generation for Engie, said the group “wants to be a frontrunner, not a laggard” in the emerging floating sector after being “late” to the wider offshore wind party.

“We are trying to do the same thing as the old Dong, Orsted now, did for fixed offshore wind,” Gorski told the FOWT 2019 floating wind power conference in Montpellier.

“We are convinced the LCOE [levlised cost of energy] will be very similar for both technologies, ” he said, adding that Engie expects to be in a position to beat French government targets of €120/MWh ($134/MWh) for floating wind deployments in 2021 and €110/MWh a year later.

“Compare the way the fixed offshore went, with floating we can go much faster… on the LCOE reduction curve,” said Gorski, who also predicted the disappearance of the jacket foundation leaving only monopiles and floating in the water.

Engie is now “full speed” in offshore wind and wants to deploy 1GW annually, said Gorski, without specifying a mix between floating and fixed capacity.

As well as major fixed-bottom projects, the French group is involved in early demonstrator floating deployments off France and Portugal.

But Gorski said the floating sector now needs governments to “push the button ... we need volume to drive costs down.”