French government to fund offshore 'building blocks'

New funding will include floating demos

The French government has announced new funding for marine renewable energy demonstrators. For wind power, the support is directed specifically to floaters, anchorage and dynamic cables. These are described as "technological building blocks", elements deemed essential to large-scale deployment.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 31 October. Both Nénuphar, which is a partner in the Vertiwind project, and Ideol, with its "dumping pool" floater, told Windpower Offshore that they are interested in participating.

Other possible contenders are Winflo and Spinfloat, a new vertical axis floating turbine backed by onshore developer and operator Eolfi.

Submissions will be assessed on innovation, economic and financial criteria, job creation, environmental aspects and the collaborative nature of the project, among other things. Priority will be given to projects costing more than €2m.

The offshore demonstrators — at a scale representative of operational conditions — must be ready for installation in 2016. Where possible, these will be installed at one of the test sites managed by France Energies Marines.

France is already ahead of its European rivals, notably the UK, Germany and Denmark, in making progress towards floating demonstration projects, and hopes to maintain this lead. A recent government report outlined what is necessary for the sector to achieve its potential, including fast-tracking pilots of floating turbines.

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