Aker Solutions Expands into Floating Offshore Wind

By The Maritime Executive 02-10-2018 05:46:01

Aker Solutions has invested in floating wind power technology company Principle Power forming an alliance that expands its position in offshore oil and gas field engineering into the fast-growing renewable energy market.

Aker Solutions has an extensive track record in developing offshore oil and gas fields, with particular capabilities in floating facilities. The partnership will help bring Principle Power's technology - a floating foundation for offshore wind turbines, known as WindFloat - to a broader market, says Aker Solutions.

Principle Power's WindFloat foundation allows wind turbines to be placed at offshore sites with some of the most abundant wind resources, irrespective of water depths. Installation, operation and maintenance of the WindFloat foundation lower the risks, costs and environmental impact compared with competing technology, says the company. The innovative features of the WindFloat dampen wave and turbine induced motion, enabling wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 40 meters (130 feet) and wind resources are superior.

In October, 2011, Principle Power deployed a full-scale 2MW WindFloat prototype (WF1) off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal. The structure was completely assembled and commissioned onshore before being towed along the Portuguese coast (from it's assembly facility near Setubal, Portugal). To date the system has produced in excess of 16GWh of electricity, delivered by sub-sea cable, to the local grid. 

Aker Solutions purchased an initial five percent stake in Principle Power and will increase this to 10 percent by the end of this year. It has the option to increase ownership further at a later stage. The companies are not disclosing the value of the transaction.

Offshore installed capacity for wind power is expected to more than double by 2022 from 2016 levels amid a global push to use fuels with lower carbon emissions following the 2015 Paris agreement to reduce carbon dioxide as a way to tackle climate change.