US Selects Five Floating Wind Technologies Enabling Mass Production and Deployment in Second FLOWIN Phase

Principle Power’s WindFloat, PelaStar, Technip Energies’ INO15, Stiesdal’s Tetra Triple-One, and Esteyco’s WHEEL floating wind platforms are the winners of the second phase of the FLoating Offshore Wind ReadINess (FLOWIN) Prize in the United States, set up to support technologies that can facilitate mass production and deployment of floating wind turbines.

Image source: PelaStar

Each of the five Phase Two winners will receive a cash prize of USD 450,000 and a USD 100,000 voucher that can be used for technical support at the Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories.

The five technologies are now eligible to compete in the final phase, Phase Three. In the final phase, the project teams will advance location-specific supply chain plans for manufacturing that developers could use to deploy floating offshore wind technologies in the United States. At the end of Phase Three, up to three winners will receive a USD 900,000 cash prize. 

The Phase Two winners have been selected out of the nine that were awarded in Phase One last year.

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The FLOWIN Prize was established in 2022 by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, with a total cash pool of USD 5.85 million, plus up to USD 1.175 million in vouchers for technical support from DOE national laboratories. The prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with support from the Oceantic Network.

Principle Power and Aker Solutions, through the FloatHOME consortium, are advancing the WindFloat floating wind platform through the competition. WindFloat, which has already been installed offshore Portugal, is now in its fourth generation. The modularised platform is said to enable differing execution plan options, allowing for streamlined manufacturing and adaptable installation.

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“The FLOWIN prize has provided us with a unique opportunity to explore ways to serialize fabrication, drive further innovation and reduce costs for floating offshore wind,” said Christoffer Valstad, Senior Vice President, Renewables US at Aker Solutions.

“FloatHOME consortium has engaged both large-scale fabricators and smaller supply chain partners to assess their existing capacities and specific manufacturing requirements. This collaborative approach has enabled the consortium to build and evaluate various scenarios for serial production and assembly of WindFloat® foundations to support the vision of using purpose-built facilities to produce subcomponent modules and efficient assembly within American ports.”

The PelaStar floating platform, developed by Glosten, is a lightweight, tension-leg platform (TLP) design that minimises environmental impacts while maintaining cost savings as well as manufacturing and installation flexibility, according to its developer.

In September 2023, PelaStar entered into a collaboration with FibreMax, manufacturer of mooring tendon technology for TLPs, Avient, manufacturers of Dyneema fibres, and the rope manufacturer Yale Cordage to enhance local content development in the State of Maine.

Following being chosen as one of the five FLOWIN Phase Two winners, PelaStar said that it had partnered with Everett Floating Structures, FibreMax, Avient-Dyneema, GMC Limited, Triton Anchor, Havfram, Foss Offshore Wind, Geodis, TRC, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop a deployment plan for Phase Two. The plan involves one 15 MW floating wind turbine assembled and installed every week, starting in the early 2030s. In addition to working out the logistics, the team supplied an estimate detailing the cost of such an effort, PelaStar said.

Back in 2022, Glosten, together with SENSEWind and Subsea Micropiles and six delivery partners won a grant in the UK to design and install a 2 MW floating wind turbine demonstrator offshore Scotland.

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Technip Energies’ floater, INO15, is a three-column semi-submersible concept designed to support 15 MW wind turbines.

This design can be assembled at ports at a low cost and is robust enough to withstand harsh operating environments, according to the company.

In March 2023, when INO15 was selected as one of the nine Phase One winners, Techip Energies said it was executing four large Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) projects in Europe and South Korea using the industrialised INO15 floater concept which, together with extensive floating platforms experiences, would be leveraged to adapt the floater design and execution plan for US manufacturing and deployment.  

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Tetra Triple-One, developed by Stiesdal, involves the company’s Tetra floating wind platform using a building-block arrangement, which allows for fully producing the components in an industrialised manufacturing environment and then transporting them to the assembly site. This makes port-side construction possible for a range of platform configurations, turbine sizes, and site conditions, according to the company.

On its website, Stiesdal says the Tetra Triple-One Concept is the company’s method for the supply of 1 GW of floating offshore wind power capacity from one port in one season, with the core enabler being the fast assembly of the Tetra foundation at quayside, coupled with onshore turbine installation.

Stiesdal Offshore Technologies’ floater has also been already installed offshore. The foundation was deployed offshore Norway in 2021 as part of the TetraSpar Demonstrator project.

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WHEEL U.S., which has also advanced to the final FLOWIN round, is competing with Esteyco’s WHEEL floating wind technology, which incorporates tanks for buoyancy and balance, resulting in an ultra-stable floating platform design that can temporarily act as a barge platform, allowing it to be assembled with the wind turbine near shore and towed to sea.

The WHEEL floater is said to be compact in size and able to reduce both costs and carbon footprint.

In May 2023, shortly after the WHEEL project was selected in Phase One, TotalEnergies announced that it was joining the project consortium.

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