The European Investment Bank wants to play a major role in helping the offshore wind industry to mature floating wind technology
Speaking at the Reuters Events: Offshore & Floating Wind conference on 2 October 2020, European Investment Bank (EIB) head of renewables Alessandro Boschi said the EIB is already providing financial support to a number of projects and is lining up funding for upcoming French floating wind projects. “As a public bank with a role supporting technology innovation, we are excited by the potential of floating wind,” he said.
He said the EIB wants to actively support floating wind because of its tremendous potential and believes it will be possible to replicate the cost reduction that has already taken place with bottom-fixed windfarms.
“The cost of floating wind is still relatively high, but we believe that cost reduction of the type that occurred in the bottom-fixed offshore wind sector can make it competitive with non-renewable generation,” Mr Boschi said.
The bank played an important role in the WindFloat Atlantic project in Portugal with a loan of €60M, and in April 2020 approved funding for the Eoliennes Flottantes Golfe du Lion (EFGL) project led by Engie and EDP.
The EFGL project in the Mediterranean will make use of three 10-MW MHI Vestas turbines and also use WindFloat foundations from Principle Power. The WindFloat Atlantic project, led by the Windplus consortium, became operational in July 2020 and was the first bank-financed floating wind project in the world.
The EIB also expects to approve funding for another French floating wind project, Provence Grand Large, later this month (October 2020). This project will use three 8-MW Siemens Gamesa turbines on an innovative tension leg platform. It is being promoted by EDF.
In the longer term, the EIB is also expected to provide funding for the Qair’s EolMed floating wind project in the Mediterranean, which will use Ideol’s damping pool floating foundation.
Mr Boschi told the conference the EIB has a number of instruments available to it to use to support the development of floating wind technology, depending on the level of maturity of that technology.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments provided assistance for the WindFloat Atlantic project offshore Portugal, whereas for the Provence Grande Large project the EU Finance for Innovators Energy Demo Projects (InnovFin EDP) fund is to be tapped.