French-Japanese joint venture targets 2 GW floating wind

Japan's largest utility, Jera, France's Ademe Investissement and Ideol have agreed on a collaboration to build large-scale floating wind of at least 2 GW.

Floating wind farm Hywind Tampen in Norway will be ready in 2020. Photo: Equinor

2 GW doesn't sound like much compared to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) estimate from last fall that the global potential for offshore wind is 120,000 GW.

However, the 2 GW pertain to floating wind capacity that a joint venture between Jera, Ademe and Ideol decided to launch today.

This means around a twenty-fold increase of the current global capacity for the still relatively immature technology. Hywind Scotland, owned by Equinor and Masdar, for example, has a MWh price of around EUR 250.

The potential is big, though. The 120,000 GW the IEA presented last fall should be taken with the reservation that more than 80 percent of the designated locations have a sea depth over 60 meters and as such hold unrealistic prospects for fixed-bottom offshore wind.

It's this potential that the new joint venture wants to tap into, says Jera, Japan's largest utility and in itself a JV between Tepco and Chubu.

"JERA is enchanted to support the most promising floating foundation on the market and to be a part of its future inevitable success," says Satoshi Yajima, executive officer of Jera's business development department, in a press release.

Bets on Europe

As a link to the European market, Jera is joined by French companies Ademe and Ideol in the collaboration. Ademe is a state-owned company that invests in renewable energy solutions and climate technologies, while Ideol is a floating wind developer.

The latter is well-known in the Japanese offshore wind business, as last year the developer joined with Shizen Energy to develop the first commercial-scale floating wind farm in Japan.

"This new milestone for IDEOL confirms the market-readiness of our technology," says Paul de la Guérivière, chief executive of Ideol.

The JV's first effort will be the French and Scottish tender rounds. In particular, the French rounds for 2.4 GW in 2023 and up to 5.2-6.8 GW in 2028 contain several well-suited floating wind regions, chiefly in the Mediterranean.

English Edit: Jonas Sahl Jørgensen

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