Statoil is “ready to go” with larger floating offshore wind deployments, said the oil & gas group’s new energies chief as she urged France to hold its first commercial-scale tender as soon as possible in 2019.
Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of the New Energy Solutions division of Statoil said the Norwegian group – soon to be renamed Equinor – had not entered France’s earlier contest for pilot floating wind projects as “we feel we are ready for larger parks”.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be ready to go whenever anyone asks us. The technology is there and we have the experience from [the 30MW Hywind Scotland project], and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to build larger parks,” Rummelhoff said as part of a panel discussion at the FOWT 2018 floating wind power event.
Statoil would “have been happy for it to happen in 2018. Please at least have it at the beginning of 2019,” Rummelhoff asked Laurent Michel, director general for the energy transition at France’s Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, who was also speaking at the event in Marseille.
The floating wind sector has been eagerly awaiting a move by France to commercial-scale tendering following its 2016 process to support four pilot projects in its waters.
The industry had hoped that the country could tender up to 2GW of floating capacity as early as this year.
Michel said floating wind would be in the mix along with all renewables sources for tendering under the umbrella of France’s revised national energy plan the PPE, which will be settled by the end of the year and set the country’s ambitions out to 2028.
He said it is “hoped, but not decided yet” that tendering could start off Brittany and the Mediterranean coast from next year, subject to the outcome of the PPE process.
But he said officials are doing everything possible to lay the groundwork for development zones beforehand, particularly by “building a consensus” with local officials, communities and businesses in the relevant areas. “We’re trying to be technically ready.”
Michel said floating tenders may have to have ceiling prices to convince policymakers that the source can deliver value for French consumers, adding that he hopes several players will be ready to compete.
French wind power association FEE president Olivier Perot called for annual tendering of both fixed and floating offshore wind capacity to reach a target of 12GW installed by 2028.
Perot also called for the government to swiftly reach an agreement with the consortia affected by renegotiations of tariffs set in fixed-bottom offshore tenders held in 2012 and 2014, saying failure to do so would be “lose-lose” for France and its wind sector.
Originally appeared in Statoil ‘ready to go’ larger with floating wind – when France is – Shop Awesome Deals