Analysis: France reviews varied floating tender bids

FRANCE: Five developers have submitted eight projects in response to the French government's request for proposals to build pilot floating projects.

DCNS would supply its semi-submersible floating platform to Eolfi and CGN at the Ile de Groix site

The tender "shows there is a real interest in floating wind and real competition", said Matthieu Monnier, head of offshore wind at French wind energy association FEE.

The call, which closed on 4 April, offered four zones in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Projects must comprise three to six turbines of at least 5MW each.

Not only were the number of applicants encouraging, but also their diversity, from major enterprises to smaller players (see table, below).

The submissions also cover a wide variety of technologies, although not all the details are yet available.

Zone Location Developer Floating platform supplier Floating technology Turbine
Ile de Groix Atlantic Ocean Eolfi, CGN DCNS Semi-submersible GE Haliade 6MW
Leucate Mediterranean Sea
Eolfi, CGN SBM Offshore Tension-leg platform TBA
    Engie, EDPR, Caisse des Depots, Eiffage Principle Power WindFloat  Semi-submersible TBA
    Quadran  SBM Offshore  Tension-leg platform Senvion 6.2MW 
Faraman (Fos-sur-mer) Mediterranean Sea  Eolfi, CGN  Nenuphar Semi-submersible Nenuphar 5MW vertical axis wind turbine 
    EDF Energies Nouvelles  TBA TBA TBA
 Le Gruissan Mediterranean Sea  Quadran  Ideol Barge  Senvion 6.2MW 
    Arkoila Saipem  Semi-submersible  TBA 

*TBA: To be announced

Developer Eolfi, in a consortium with CGN Europe (China General Nuclear Power Group), applied for three projects with different technologies and partners.

At the Ile de Groix zone, DCNS would supply Eolfi and CGN steel and concrete semi-submersible floaters, supporting GE's Haliade 6MW turbines.

For the Leucate zone, Eolfi and CGN propose tension-leg platforms (TLP) from SBM Offshore, while at the Faraman zone (Fos-sur-mer) they propose Nenuphar's vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) on semi-submersible floaters.

Also at Leucate, SBM Offshore and IFP Energies Nouvelles would supply TLP platforms to French developer Quadran, which has also bid to use Ideol's Damping-Pool floater at the Le Gruissan.

Quadran's two bids feature use of Senvion's 6.2MW turbines under an exclusive agreement.

Developers Engie (formerly GDF Suez), with EDP Renewables, Caisse des Depots and Eiffage, plans to use Principle Power's WindFloat platform and a turbine of "at least 6MW" at Leucate.

Montpellier-based developer Arkolia Energies is focusing on the Le Gruissan zone, with Saipem to supply a steel semi-submersible floater.

Finally, EDF Energies Nouvelles applied for Faraman (Fos-sur-mer), but has not released further details.

Applications will be judged according to technical and financial criteria, alongside organisational, economic, environmental and territorial aspects.

Successful applicants will receive a share of the €150 million grant, plus a feed-in tariff of €150-275/MWh, based on the average rate requested by developers.

Given the relatively modest budget, "it is difficult to imagine they will select more than three projects", Monnier said.

While there is no firm date when the winners will be announced, it should be before the end of the year. "The state wants to move quickly", Monnier added.