France’s First and Only Operational Floating Wind Turbine Gets Lifetime Extension
Floatgen, the demonstration floating wind turbine installed at the SEM-REV offshore test site in France, has completed its planned five-year run but will operate for another five years as the demo project was decided to get a lifetime extension.
The floater, which consists of a 2 MW Vestas V80 wind turbine mounted on BW Ideol’s Damping Pool foundation, reached electricity production milestones several times since going into full operation in September 2018.
According to BW Ideol, Floatgen’s cumulated production has now surpassed 30 GWh, which the company ascribes to “the hydrodynamic properties and excellent sea-keeping capabilities” of its floating foundation.
Floatgen’s availability averaged 92.18 per cent between January 2021 and January 2024, with December 2023 standing out with a monthly production record of 922.026 MWh and a 61.96 per cent capacity factor, BW Ideol says.
With these results and the current condition of the floating foundation and the wind turbine, Floatgen, which was initially designed for a five-year lifespan, has been decided to stay offshore for an additional five years, during which time the floater will not need major maintenance, according to BW Ideol.
The company says that the Floatgen lifetime extension will enable continuing research and development projects, including the Velella project that aims to optimise the economic and environmental performance of the BW Ideol floater, incorporating a life cycle assessment. Additionally, the Piaff & Co project aims to collect data to identify potentially impacted species and their interactions with the wind turbine.
“We are proud to announce the extension of our Floatgen pilot, which, after enduring several major storms over the past 5 years, including a record wave height of 12.9 meters during the Ciaran storm, is still perfectly capable of operating for an additional 5 years without the need for major maintenance work,” said Paul de la Guérivière, the CEO of BW Ideol.
“Owning a full-scale unit like Floatgen is truly a must-have to validate and refine our technology and to conduct research projects. And this is exactly what we intend to do for the next few years.”
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