Italian gas giant Eni has signed a long-term partnership with Spain’s offshore wind power technology start-up EnerOcean to further develop the latter’s twin-tower floating wind platform, called Wind2Power (W2Power), to the point of commercial deployment.
Through its clean energy affiliate, Plenitude, Eni will take an initial 25% stake in EnerOcean and will provide its expertise in offshore gas and capital to make W2Power technology “a lead contender for floating wind power developments worldwide,” according to a joint statement.
W2Power was developed by EnerOcean over a ten-year period, culminating in the testing of a scaled-down, 200kW prototype (two 100kW nacelles), which operated 2.5km off the coast of Gran Canaria between June and October 2019.
Through affiliate Canarray, EnerOcean is currently developing two arrays totalling up to 180MW, using 5.5-6.0MW nacelles, at sites 8-20km off the Gran Canaria coast.
EnerOcean told Windpower Monthly it has recently completed the environmental studies and that further processing now awaits finalisation of the central government’s offshore wind permitting regulation, currently drafting.
However, the first array could kick-off with a single full-scale prototype, processed and fast-tracked as a research and development project, and with possible installation in 2024, though EnerOcean declined to give further details.
Meanwhile, the company says it is working with certification company Bureau Veritas (BV) on the full-scale certification of its 10MW-plus floating platform design – which would use two 5MW-plus nacelles.
At the same time, EnerOcean confirms it has started studies to fit its platform with twin nacelles totalling 15MW-plus – two 7.5MW-plus nacelles – “with very positive results”.
That work has been in conjunction with a turbine manufacturer, which the company declined to identify at this stage.
W2Power comprises a semi-submersible steel triangular floating platform, fitted with two turbine towers, each mounted on a different point of the triangle.
The third triangle point is attached to the mooring, and swivels like a weather vane ensuring the rotor always faces the wind, eliminating the need for expensive yaw systems.
The entire structure is mounted onshore and is towed to its sea moorings, eliminating jack-up crane costs.