3 March 2023
Interview with Willy Gauttier, VP Floating Offshore Wind at Technip Energies
This month, we sat down with Willy Gauttier, VP Floating Offshore Wind at Technip Energies, to discuss Technip’s impressive track record of collaborative wind energy projects, its work on floating offshore wind, and its views on the state of the supply chain.
Can you tell our readers a little about your organisation?
Technip Energies has been working for the past 60 years on developing energy solutions for its clients in every continent. We are a diversified provider of projects, technologies, products, and services. We combine our engineering capabilities with our technological know-how to develop new solutions such as FOW, CCUS, green hydrogen and other renewables that will support the world’s energy transition. Leveraging our unique experience and competencies for offshore floating facilities, we offer a range of advanced floating offshore wind solutions and technologies. We assist our clients in their transition to carbon-free energy by applying our skills to deliver full-scale floating offshore wind projects. We are working with all key offshore wind clients in Europe with a specific focus on the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. We will soon expand into Spain and Portugal.
As far as specific projects are concerned, Technip Energies partnered with Equinor on the pioneering Hywind Demo pilot in Norway in 2009, which was the world’s first floating offshore wind unit. Our INO15™ in-house floater design was initially developed through the WindMoor joint industry project again in collaboration with Equinor in Norway. And in the case of the FireFly project with Equinor in South Korea, we are further optimising INO15™ in terms of mooring systems, turbine integration and overall industrialisation to deliver the 800 MW wind farm.
In other significant projects, Technip Energies, together with our partner X1 Wind and a consortium of 10 leading international entities, has been selected by the European Commission to deliver the NextFloat project, an ambitious programme accelerating industrial-scale floating wind. NextFloat’s main objective is to demonstrate a competitive, sustainable, and integrated floating offshore wind solution optimised for deep waters. The integrated solution draws on X1 Wind’s innovative and disruptive floating offshore wind technology and a lighter floater design needing less steel and enabling a more efficient and restricted mooring system, ultimately minimising the impact on the seabed.
What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the wind industry?
The offshore wind industry’s move to ever-increasing turbine power is very impressive and creates a number of challenges in terms of scaling up equipment, construction capabilities and installation assets. This is even more relevant when it comes to floating offshore wind, where we are now considering installing 15 MW turbines – and likely bigger in the future – on very large floating objects. We will need a lot of innovation to make this happen.
We are equally excited about the growing role of floating offshore wind in the energy transition. It offers many new opportunities as a carbon-free electricity generation system meeting demand in a sustainable way. The floating offshore wind market will boom in the next 20 years. We speak about a pipeline of projects that will exceed 20 GW by 2030 and probably 60 GW by 2040. This is indeed massive, but should also be competitive compared with other renewable energies such as fixed-bottom offshore wind. We don’t just need an optimised floater design that will be as light as possible. More importantly, we need a design that can be manufactured en masse in an economically viable way.
What changes would you like to see in the wind industry?
The offshore wind market is so huge and challenging that we’ll need to see further collaboration between key players. First of all, our clients need to be more aware of the risks and rewards of being involved with a supply chain and need to make an informed decision about whether it’s the right deal for them. We also need the supply chain to work closer together. For example, we cannot continue to design floaters separately from turbines. If we want to achieve optimisation, we need original equipment manufacturers of wind turbine generators to work with floater designers toward an integrated design.
Going forward, what role do you see your organisation playing in the future development of wind energy?
Technip Energies wants to be a leader in floating offshore wind by providing end-to-end solutions with floater design, turbine integration and optimised industrial solutions. We believe we can also play a key role in the operation and maintenance business for floating offshore wind farms.
As I mentioned, we need to facilitate the integration of the turbine into the floater design to deliver the full potential of the overall assembly. As for the supply chain, we need to stimulate a more robust system to develop key components such as mooring equipment, fairleads, chains, and cables. We also need to encourage dedicated capacities and plants. And for marine installation, we need logistical hubs and specific assets such as anchor handling tugs to deliver the huge volumes predicted.
Technip Energies is engaged globally with key stakeholders to reach a comprehensive understanding of the capacities available worldwide. And we will develop agreements to secure those capacities whenever we can.
How has WindEurope membership benefited your organisation?
WindEurope gives us great exposure to the wind industry ecosystem. We have grown our offshore wind network very quickly and this accessibility has certainly been a catalyst for our development. We look forward to working with WindEurope for many years to come, in its role as a strong advocate for wind energy policies in Europe.
If we look ten years ahead, what do you hope to have achieved?
In 10 years we would like to have contributed to helping our clients move to carbon-free energy by promoting and maturing the floating offshore wind industry in Europe. With its five sea basins, the EU has massive potential for offshore floating wind power, making it a cornerstone of the clean energy transition. The EU has set a target of 150 GW of offshore wind installed capacity by 2030, which is set to double to 300 GW by 2050. Technip Energies will continue to develop economical and efficient solutions to help meet these goals in a sustainable way.
Find out more about Technip Energies