Windstaller Alliance – the joint venture between Aker Solutions, DeepOcean and Solstad Offshore – has been subcontracted to deliver the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the subsea installation scope of the FloWatt Tidal Pilot to be installed offshore Normandy, France.

The study is financed by the European Union program “The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project”, known as TIGER. The TIGER project will drive the growth of tidal stream energy to become a greater part of the energy mix, with significant benefits for coastal communities.

The FloWatt project incorporates 7 x 2.5 MW tidal turbines of Hydroquest technology – 17.5 MW in total – making it the world’s most powerful tidal power farm. It is located in the Raz Blanchard passage at the northwestern tip of France, home to one of Europe’s most powerful tidal currents.

“There is a lot of cross-over between the installation of subsea power equipment for tidal power and offshore wind. In principle, it is about safely and cost-effectively making the necessary installations to connect the subsea equipment offshore and install the equipment required to bring the power to shore. This is what Windstaller Alliance does,” says Guro Høyaas Løken, head of the Windstaller Alliance.

To deliver its FEED installation scope, Windstaller Alliance will draw upon Aker Solutions’ competence within subsea power distribution, DeepOcean’s experience from subsea power cable installation, and Solstad Offshore’s track record from the installation of tidal water turbines.

The FEED covers the installation of a subsea HV power collection system which connects 7 off 2.5 MW tidal turbines to a subsea connection hub, inter-array cables, and power export cable to shore.

“The FloWatt is an excellent example of why the Windstaller Alliance was established. By pooling together specialist resources from various disciplines – from subsea power and technology experts to installation specialists and the people operating the vessel – we can cut interfaces, reduce project risk and develop a robust and cost-efficient plan for installation,” adds Guro Høyaas Løken.

Windstaller Alliance will deliver its FEED installation scope as a subcontractor to Aker Solutions, which HydroQuest has appointed to deliver the complete FEED study for the Subsea Interconnection System of the FloWatt project. The FEED will be completed in the summer of 2023. The intention is to utilise the most efficient partner resources during a potential project build-out.

The FloWatt project is developed by tidal power turbine technology developer and renewable energy developer HydroQuest and independent renewable energy producer Qair. The final investment decision for the FloWatt project is expected in 2024, with a potential EPCI contract award in the same year. French authorities already approve the FloWatt project, which is moving faster than the prospects seen within offshore wind. There are concrete plans for several 250 MW and 500 MW tidal parks in the same area (up to 2-3.5 GW).

“Tidal power is perhaps somewhat unfairly overlooked as a renewable energy source, but the fact is that – unlike wind and solar power – you know exactly when and how much energy will be produced. We will do our best during the FEED to help realise the FloWatt project, which will position us well for potential future development of the project,” concludes Høyaas Løken.

Image source: Courtesy of Windstaller Alliance

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