Technip Energies has acquired a strategic slice of Spanish floating wind technology outfit X1 Wind, in the latest move by the French energy contractor to anchor itself in a sector it re-entered last year after an almost ten-year absence.

The 16.3% stake in X1 Wind, which is developing a next-generation tension leg platform concept that features a downwind turbine, includes by an “operational agreement” through which Technip Energies will join the technology outfit’s technical and commercialisation committees with the aim adding the pioneering PivotBuoy design to its wider offshore wind “offering”.

“With this investment and collaboration, Technip Energies demonstrates that it is not only addressing today’s floating wind market with its current [INO12] semi-submersible technology, it is also preparing the future with this promising design to become the leader of the next generation of floaters,” said Willy Gauttier, Technip Energies’ vice president for floating wind.

“Thanks to our offshore project execution and experience in developing technical concepts all the way to commercialisation, we are confident that X1 Wind will be a great addition to Technip Energies’ portfolio of technology solutions in the near future.”

X1 Wind CEO Alex Raventos said: “Our innovation capacity and disruptive light-weight technology coupled with Technip Energies’ decades of experience in the offshore sector and track-record implementing the first floating wind projects, brings a perfect alliance to develop the next generation of floating wind technology, necessary to lower the costs of the floating wind sector to meet the ambitious targets and contribute to a carbon neutral but competitive energy mix.”

X1 Wind’s PivotBuoy is one of a group of new ‘clean sheet’ floating wind designs that department from the oil & gas-inspired platforms – including Equinor’s Hywind and Principle Power’s WindFloat – that aims to drive down costs as the sector industrialises.

The X30 model, which is outfitted with an adapted Vestas V29 turbine that ‘weathervanes’ with the wind, will undertake a one-year trial this summer, with an eye on a first pre-commercial development made up of up to five 5-6MW units off the Canary Islands “by 2024-25”, Raventos told Recharge last year year.

After launching into the floating wind sector and then exiting in 2012, Technip Energies re-entered the market, as Gauttier explained in an exclusive interview with Recharge last October, with a concept dubbed the INO12, which was recently anointed by classification body DNV as on track for ‘approval in principle’ certification this year.

Floating wind power’s global build-out this decade has been forecast by the Global Wind Energy Council to reach over 16GW – a figure given a boost last week with the award of offshore wind leases by the Scottish government in North Sea deep-water – though some analysts remain concerned outdated current government policy frameworks have the potential of limiting the sector to deploying as little as 5GW by 2030.