Big-hitting offshore wind developer Ocean Winds and Paris-headquartered Banque des Territoires (BdT) have inked a deal to bid for a pair of 250MW floating wind sites in France’s highly-anticipated AO6 tender, slated to award deepwater development acreage by the end of this year.

The tie-up between Ocean Winds – a joint venture between French utility Engie and Portugal’s EDPR – and BdT – owned by the France’s giant Caisse des dépôts – builds on a partnership already building the 30MW Éoliennes Flottantes du Golfe de Lion (EFGL) pilot and stretches back to the early Dieppe Le Tréport and Îles d'Yeu and Noirmoutier bottom fixed projects in the French Atlantic.

“This partnership for participation in AO6 seemed very natural given our common history since the launch of offshore wind ambitions in France [and] our convergences in terms of financial strategy, but most of all our shared values around the priority given to local content,” said Marc Hirt, Ocean Winds’ country manager in France.

“The focus on creating a French industry to support national clean energy ambitions is a pillar of our joint work on the Dieppe Le Tréport, Îles d'Yeu and Noirmoutier and EFGL offshore wind farms, and will also be a pillar in our bid for the AO6."

Emmanuel Legrand, director of energy and ecological transition at BdT, said the deal “confirmed [its] commitment to contribute to the deployment of floating wind power on a commercial scale”.

“We believe that this innovative technology is one of the keys to achieving national renewable energy production objectives,” he said.

The partners said their involvement in AO6 – launched by former French Prime Minister Jean Castex last year just after President Emmanuel Macron announced a target of 40GW of offshore wind power by 2050 “reinforced their wish to contribute more massively to the national ambitions aiming to accelerate the energy transition”.

Ocean Winds currently has 5.6GW floating wind pipeline in development in Korea, the UK and the US. EFGL, due online in 2023, is based around a trio of Principle Power WindFloat platforms topped with 10MW Vestas turbines – in 2019 named as preferred supplier of its V164 machines that were at that stage the most powerful yet planned for a floating array.

Like the other French pilots in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, it will receive a feed-in tariff of €240/MWh ($271/MWh) for 20 years.

Consultancy DNV calculates floating projects currently make up over 15% of the total offshore wind deployment in the pipeline for switch-on by mid-century, equal to some 264GW of the 1.75TW forecast to be installed.