France's Environmental and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) has launched a tender process for multiple floating wind turbine pilot projects.
The tender invites firms to submit proposals to build floating wind farms consisting of 3-6 turbines apiece. A minimum generating capacity of 5 MW is required for each turbine.
The wind farms will be connected to the public grid and will have a demonstration period of 2 years. If a project shows technical and economic success over the demonstration period, operation may be extended to roughly 15-20 years.
The French government has set aside €150 million (US$164.4 million) for the projects: two thirds of which will be in the form of loans, one third in investment subsidies.
Potential bidders for the tender include French utilities EDF and Engie, Spanish utility Iberdrola, and Portuguese utility EDP Renovaveis. Smaller players such as French wind farm developers Quadran, Eole-Res and Ideol (who has already developed a floating wind turbine platform) are also possible contenders.
The French Prime Minister will start selecting the bid winners once the request closes on April 4, 2016.
See tender documents:
Portugal and Norway have pioneered the new technology with projects consisting of a single floating turbine. This tender process, however, is set to be the first attempt at testing floating wind turbines on an industrial scale.