Cédric Dewandre working on offshore floating wind turbines

Will tomorrow’s wind turbines sail the high seas?

While on mission, Syngenia engineers sometimes have the opportunity to work on truly innovative projects. We talked with Cédric Dewandre, an engineer on mission with Tractebel for Syngenia, about an ambitious project to install offshore floating wind turbines.eoliennes3

  • What will this project do?

It’s all about developing wind farms in deeper parts of the sea that are beyond the scope of the traditional offshore turbines. This would enable us to access zones with greater wind resources. And in the long run, that will have a positive impact on average energy costs. Also, countries that only have deep waters, such as Japan, would also then be able to use offshore wind turbines.

The pilot project WindFloat Atlantic provides for the construction of prototypes that will make up a three- or four-turbine 25MW wind farm. It will be located 25 km off Portugal’s Atlantic coast, in waters that are about a hundred metres deep. Some experiments have already been conducted in Europe and Japan, but this will be one of the very first floating wind farm arrays, scheduled to come into service in 2019.  Setting up a whole farm is important in order to prove the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the technology. A single prototype was already successfully installed in 2011, and the next phase will be full commercialisation, with farms using scores of turbines.

  • What is at stake here?

Industrially, environmentally and economically, this is a strategic project. At present, the implementation costs are still high, but compared to the traditional offshore wind farms, we could achieve a better performance over time and bring down the cost of offshore wind energy. And more of the work can be performed on land, so limiting the higher costs caused by offshore work and reducing operational risks. Once we’ve passed the pilot stage and the technology has been made available worldwide, the technology can be optimised, costs reduced, financial risks absorbed, and floating offshore wind power will achieve good commercial viability.

  • How did you come to be working on this project?

Engie brings in Technical Advisers. In my case, I already had professional experience of managing offshore projects, gained while working for a marine contractor. Within this innovative project, I can put my own expertise to good use while also benefiting from the other participants’ expertise. Together, in our different spheres of competence, we identify interfaces and anticipate problems, and we move forward step by step towards better solutions. It’s highly motivating and enriching. I’m so excited by this project that I just can’t wait to see where offshore floating wind energy will have got to 10 years down the line.