FLOATING TO SUCCESS
When naval architect Dominique Roddier co-founded a marine technology consultancy firm in 2004, little did he know that in just 10 years, he would be Chief Technology Officer for one of the most cutting-edge suppliers of technology and services to the offshore wind industry.
After earning his Ph.D. in the USA, Roddier worked for ExxonMobil before creating Marine Innovation & Technology with friend and business partner Christian Cermelli. Over the next decade, the marine renewable energy sector mushroomed, and in 2014 the small firm merged with Principle Power.
Its aim: to provide competitive, safe and environmentally friendly technology for deep-water offshore wind projects.
“Principle Power’s flagship technology is the WindFloat - a floating wind turbine foundation – that reduces costs and risks for the installation and operations of offshore wind turbines. The technology is ‘turbine-agnostic’, which means the WindFloat can be used with any turbines project developers want to deploy.”
Following Bureau Veritas’ issue of an Approval in Principle of the company’s floater concept two years ago, Dominique is now working on the first commercial project to use WindFloat, Les Eoliennes Flottantes du Golfe du Lion, located 18 km off the French Mediterranean coast and developed by a consortium made up of ENGIE, EDPR and Caisse des Dépôts.
“With a capacity of 24 MW, this project is an excellent demonstration of industrialization. It will be a landmark project for both us and the industry. Industrialization requires a great deal of innovation: when you’re building 30 or 40 units, the methodology is different than if you’re building just one. Your work has to be optimized and safe, and you also have to be able to reproduce it.”
For Dominique, Bureau Veritas has been a valuable partner:
“First Bureau Veritas approved our technology, now they are certifying the hull and mooring for the project. We are working to several standards, and Bureau Veritas has proved to be very open-minded, present and responsive. They understand that standards have to evolve, and when we find specifications that are simply not appropriate for our technology, they are willing to work with us to adjust requirements. They have also been great about reaching out to other certification agencies to learn from their work on similar projects. We’ll definitely work with them again.”
WindFloat technology has already been deployed as a 2-MW prototype off the coast of Portugal: the company is now working on a 25-MW project, also offshore Portugal, for deployment in 2019.
Photo Credit: Principle Power