Principle Power and KIC InnoEnergy announced a partnership that includes a €4 million investment from KIC InnoEnergy in the “WindFloat – Path to Commercialization” project. A key area of focus of the project is to further reduce the levelized cost of energy in offshore wind asset delivery, ensuring Principle Power and the WindFloat technology are in line with global price targets for commercial offshore wind projects.
As an investor, KIC InnoEnergy has validated the promise of WindFloat technology and the growth opportunity presented by the floating offshore wind sector. The partnership encompasses nearly every aspect of advanced technology development and commercialization, including engineering, third-party analysis and certification, business development, and dissemination.
“We are delighted to welcome KIC InnoEnergy to the Principle Power team,” said João Metelo, President and CEO of Principle Power. “As we move the WindFloat technology towards commercialization, the support of partners such as KIC InnoEnergy is key. Their contribution is not limited to foresight and providing funding to drive innovation; the KIC InnoEnergy team also brings a wealth of industry expertise and can help us tremendously in setting a successful course for our business.”
The WindFloat concept allows offshore wind turbines to be assembled and commissioned entirely onshore. The fully assembled foundations and turbines can then be towed to an offshore wind-farm site by tug vessel. This means that projects using the WindFloat are not subject to the weather constraints and associated costs or delays that can affect conventional offshore developments. The WindFloat concept also means that individual turbines can be returned back to shore for major repairs and maintenance.
The project is scheduled to conclude in 2018, following a multi-year, multi-disciplinary program. In addition, the partnership leverages significant investments in complementary project development activities as part of the WindFloat Atlantic (WFA) project in Portugal.
The 25-MW WFA project is scheduled for installation in late 2018 or 2019, and is backed by a consortium of major energy and industrial players including: EDP Renewables, Trust Wind (a 50/50 JV between Engie and Marubeni), Chiyoda Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Repsol. The WFA project is a recipient of NER300 funding from the European Commission.
“This initiative fits very well with our main objective: to help bring innovation into the market,” added Mikel Lasa, CEO of KIC InnoEnergy Iberia. “In this particular case, we’re not only boosting the technological innovation, but making the business case feasible. With this project, Principle Power will make an important step towards the competitiveness of floating offshore wind energy.”
The innovative WindFloat approach will have a direct effect on real costs during the CAPEX and OPEX phases of an offshore wind project. Studies carried out, internally and through third-party analysis, show that the technology can bring the cost of offshore wind below €100 per megawatt hour for projects with a commercial operation date of 2020.
The technology also permits the siting of wind farms further from shore than would be possible with bottom fixed foundations. Depth independence allows project developers in the siting process to prioritize energy generation and to address potential stakeholder concerns up front.