France plans €150 million floating push in June

FRANCE: France will call for expressions of interest to build a pilot project of floating wind turbines next June, prime minister Manuel Valls announced yesterday.

The 2MW Vertiwind turbine is set to be installed in 2017
The 2MW Vertiwind turbine is set to be installed in 2017

Funding of EUR150 million will be made available to support the emerging technology in what the government sees as a priority sector.

While France is only just creating an industrial base producing fixed-foundation turbines, it is determined to gain an early lead in floating turbine technology.

This is partly in the interest of job creation and partly for practical reasons: because the seabed shelves steeply off the French coast, floating turbines are the only option in many areas.

French designers have been working on floating turbines for a number of years, with four expecting to launch offshore prototypes in the coming years.

First is likely to be Ideol's Floatgen platform equipped with a 2MW Gamesa turbine. The company hopes to install a demonstrator next summer.

Nénuphar and EDF Energies Nouvelles expect to have their prototype 2MW Vertiwind vertical axis turbine ready for installation in 2017, followed shortly by DCNS and Alstom's semi-submersible SeaReed floater, equipped with a Haliade 6MW machine.

Finally, Eolfi is developing another vertical axis concept, with a 5MW turbine, dubbed Spinfloat. Its offshore prototype is scheduled for 2019.

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