ENGIE and its partner EDPR have officially unveiled Ocean Winds – their joint venture set up to develop offshore wind projects. Among the joint venture's major projects, the commissioning of the WindFloat Atlantic platform has established Ocean Winds as a forerunner in floating wind farms in Europe. This is a key stage in enabling ENGIE to deliver on the aims it has for offshore wind – a vital component of the energy transition.
The joint venture created in 2019 by ENGIE and EDPr now has a name: Ocean Winds.
Based in Madrid, Ocean Winds was born from ENGIE's and EDPr's desire to become a global leader in offshore wind. It will manage the development and operation of both companies' fixed and floating offshore wind assets, starting with a total of 1.5 GW under construction and 4 GW under development. The new company has set itself the target of having 5 to 7 GW of assets in operation or under construction, and 5 to 10 GW under advanced development by 2025.
OW already has more than 200 employees as of its launch: 15 different nationalities are represented and nearly a third of them are women.
When the two companies were looking for a name for the business, a team of scientists used an algorithm to translate the sound of the wind into the letters of the Roman alphabet. The two most commonly occurring letters were “O” and “W”, thus giving rise to the name Ocean Winds.
Of the various projects in which Ocean Winds is involved, floating offshore wind is a promising new technology that is at the cutting-edge. Unlike fixed offshore wind infrastructure, they are assembled while docked in a port before being towed out to sea. Floating wind farms can therefore be set up in many more areas than fixed wind farms. At the same time, they are significantly less intrusive – particularly in deepwater areas. 80% of offshore wind energy is generated in areas where the sea is up to 60 m deep – making floating platform technology the most appropriate. By 2030, floating wind turbines capable of generating between 4 and 6 GW could be installed in European waters.
Offshore wind is an abundant energy source and is more manageable than other renewable energies. With the successful commissioning of Windfloat Atlantic, and all the benefits that floating platform technology brings with it, offshore wind is increasingly being seen as an essential component of the new energy mix – necessary for the transition over to carbon neutrality.
Six months after the first platform was brought into service, the Windfloat Atlantic project is now fully operational.
The three turbines located off the Portuguese coast each have 8.4 MW of installed capacity and are the world's largest for a floating windfarm. The three platforms are connected by a 20 km export cable that leads up to the Viana do Castelo substation and will be used to meet the energy requirements of the equivalent of 60,000 people per year.
The platforms, each 30 m high and 50 m apart, are the first of their kind in continental Europe.
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman of ENGIE's Board of Directors, is confident regarding the development of offshore wind power, according to an interview he gave to Le Monde. “The sea wind conditions are very stable, supplying the network on an almost permanent basis instead of more conventional resources such as gas, coal or nuclear. This is something which solar or onshore wind power do less well. We are absolutely certain that offshore wind has a great deal of potential in Europe and throughout the world".
ENGIE is also committed to fixed offshore wind power. Alongside EDPR, ENGIE is already operating the Dieppe Le Tréport and Yeu Noirmoutier wind farms. So Ocean Winds’ aim over the next few years is obviously to become the world leader in both fixed and floating offshore wind power.