United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Total enters floating wind

Oil and gas giant Total has entered floating offshore wind by agreeing to acquire an 80% stake in a 96MW project in the Celtic Sea and forming a joint venture (JV) to develop further projects.

Erebus will feature turbines installed on  Principle Power’s WindFloat foundations (above)
Erebus will feature turbines installed on Principle Power’s WindFloat foundations (above)

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The Erebus project off the coast of south-west Wales could feature Principle Power’s triangular, semi-submersible WindFloat foundations, while a decision has not yet been made on the turbines.

It will be the first project developed by a new joint venture, Blue Gem Wind, set up by Total and Erebus’ owner, Simply Blue Energy.

The marine renewables company has already filed for a permit from UK seabed landlord the Crown Estate for Erebus, which will be built in 70-metre waters. 

It will serve as a demonstration project for further wind farms to be developed by the joint venture.

“Floating offshore wind is an extremely promising and technical segment where Total brings its extensive expertise in offshore operations and maintenance," Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said.

“Total has the appropriate skills to meet the technological and financial requirements that determine the success of future floating offshore developments," he added. 

According to an International Energy Agency report, around 40% of the "full lifetime costs of a standard offshore wind project" have "significant synergies" with oil and gas.

In its Offshore Wind Outlook, the agency added there is "likely to be much to learn" from the oil and gas industry in developing floating offshore wind. 

Simply Blue Energy has already started engaging the local supply chain. It stated that with the right revenue support in place, the project could be commissioned in the mid-2020s.

The developer suggested that a route to market could be through the UK’s contract for difference (CfD) support scheme. 

Floating wind is currently classed as a “less-established technology" in the scheme, as is fixed-bottom offshore wind.

However, it would struggle to compete on cost in future allocation rounds.

The UK government is currently consulting on changes to the CfD scheme, including whether floating offshore wind could compete in a different pot to fixed-bottom.

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