Floating wind joined the 10MW-turbine era in another milestone for the fast-emerging sector, as MHI Vestas was named preferred supplier to another pilot project off France.

The manufacturer’s V164-10.0 MW was lined up to equip the 30MW Gulf of Lion project planned for deployment in 2022.

The three turbines will operate on semi-submersible WindFloat platforms from floating pioneer Principle Power.

The Gulf of Lion project, also known as Leucate and led by European power giants Engie and EDPR, is one of four sanctioned by the French government off its coasts as it seeks to establish a leading position in floaitng wind.

The deal comes soon after MHI Vestas was named preferred supplier to the Groix & Belle-Ile floating pilot that’s another of the quartet. That project will use the 9.5MW version of the V164, but the 10MW announcement brings the sector into the double-digit rating range for the first time.

Floating wind will ramp-up to 8.3MW when three MHI Vestas V164s enter service on the EDPR-led WindPlus project off Portugal, due later this year.

Wind industry advocacy body WindEurope figures some 350MW of floating capacity  will be switched on in Europe by 2021 led by a raft of projects off the UK, France, Portugal and Norway.

Analysts range widely in their 2030 forecasts for floating wind, with estimates spread from as little as 6GW up to almost 19GW, all influenced by how quickly levellised cost of energy numbers can be brought down to below €50/MWh, to be competitive with conventional offshore wind.