Recharge, the global renewable energy news and intelligence platform, has unveiled the contenders for the world’s first-ever floating wind power sector award.

To be announced onboard a VIP cruise on the eve of FOWT18 in Marseille in April, the Recharge Floating Wind Power Player of the Year award will recognise a pioneer, innovator or influencer in the fast-emerging energy sector.

“When we launched Recharge in 2009, the first floating wind turbine was being moored off Norway. Now there is every expectation that the floating wind fleet could expand to as much as 12GW by 2030, with major developments in every offshore region of the world,” commented Recharge Editor-in-Chief Darius Snieckus, who is convening FOWT18, where close to 1,000 delegates are expected.

“The speed of development we have seen in the sector has been awe-inspiring. Yet, the industrialisation that is going to have to take place to reach this installed capacity will be even more so.”

Paul de la Guérivière, chief executive of Ideol, which is sponsoring the inaugural award, said: “Ideol is proud to be the sponsor as well as the initiator of this award ceremony.

“This event will not be about laurelling one or the other technology or company, but rather will be all about recognising the exceptional contribution of one individual who – through his or her work and vision – managed to put floating offshore wind in the limelight and on a faster track towards technological and/or commercial readiness.”

Recharge is running an online poll, where readers can vote on a shortlist of contenders. See panel below for the list of candidates then cast your vote here.

To coincide with the award ceremony Recharge editors are curating a collection of opinion pieces from some of floating wind’s most influential thought leaders.

FOWT’s main event, conference and exhibition, now in its third year, takes place at the prestigious seaside Palais du Pharo in Marseille on 25-26 April, with a third day recently added on 27 April to cover technical and academic papers and presentations being organised at Marseille’s Ecole Centrale.

Latest calculations from WindEurope point to 350MW of floating wind capacity being switched on in Europe by 2021 via 10 projects off the UK, France, Portugal and Norway.

From a single industrial-scale prototype in 2009, floating wind has progressed at a clip toward commercialisation. A year ago, analysts were forecasting a global market of around 3.5GW by 2030; now the consensus is 5-6GW, with UK low-carbon business development body Carbon Trust expecting anywhere between 3GW and 12GW.