The first of a new-look pyramid-shaped floating wind power design from Eolink is set to be installed in the French Atlantic in 2024 following new investment from Spanish developer Acciona Energy and project management firm Valorem.
The final investment decision (FID) clears the way for construction of a 5MW version of the concept, a slimline design that promises a reduction of the mass of steel greater than 30%, as part of the €22m ($23m) France Atlantique project at the SEM-REV test site off the country’s west coast.
“The entry of Acciona Energia and Valorem as capital investors in Eolink makes it possible to complete the financing of the project. Historical investors Breizh Up, Force29 and the Finistère Angels remain investors and so confirm their support for Eolink,” the company said in a statement.
“This step marks the formalisation of the financing and marks the beginning of the phase of manufacturing.”
For France Atlantique, Eolink has partnered with the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, which operates the SEM-REV. Valorem will take charge of the turbine-platform assembly and operation and maintenance of the unit once online.
The pilot floating unit, which will measure 52 metres x 52 metres and weigh 1,100 tons, wil fly a 143-metre-diameter rotor star.
“A modular design using steel panels, such as is the common practice in the shipbuilding industry, will facilitate the process of industrialisation with a view to deploying the technology on a large scale,” said Eolink.
Manufacture of the France Atlantique unit will begin “before the end of 2022”, with mooring and anchoring installed next spring and final commissioning a year later.
Eolink, which earlier this year won a €6m award from the French government for work on a 20MW floating wind concept, is one of next-generation designers that is departing from offshore oil-inspired platforms, along with companies including Denmark's Stiesdal Offshore Technologies, Spain's X1Wind and Saitec, Norway's World Wide Wind and the US’ T-Omega.
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 1,750GW slated to be installed.