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Offshore Wind Journal

Offshore Wind Journal

SeaTwirl spins financing and development deal for pilot project

Thu 25 Apr 2019 by David Foxwell

SeaTwirl spins financing and development deal for pilot project
SeaTwirl is working with Colruyt and NorSea Group to test a 1-MW vertical axis turbines

The developer of an innovative vertical-axis floating offshore wind turbine has signed a letter of intent to work with partners who will help it develop and install a scaled-up version of its technology.

SeaTwirl in Sweden, Colruyt Group in Belgium and NorSea Group in Norway are to work together to finance, develop and install a SeaTwirl S2-1MW floating wind turbine. The scope of the planned investment is Skr70M (US$7.5M), provided milestones are met. When the milestones are met, the new owners will each own approximately 19% of the company.

SeaTwirl has been developing the vertical axis turbine for some time and said it had sought out “specific experience and expertise in establishing and operating offshore windfarms.”

SeaTwirl chairman Roger Cederberg said, “Having NorSea Group and Colruyt Group/Parkwind as partners will enable us to take SeaTwirl to a whole new level.”

A letter of intent has been signed outlining the key terms and conditions of the contemplated partnership and capital increase, subject to confirmatory due diligence proceedings, with both new partners. NorSea Group has extensive experience in offshore and marine operations and contributes to the development, service and installation in the sea. Colruyt Group, via its subsidiary Parkwind, has developed, built and operated offshore windfarms in Europe since 2009, and wants to further contribute to the development and future growth of offshore wind.

NorSea Group chief executive John Stangeland said, “The industry will need to move further offshore into water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible and at the same time reduce the cost of floating solutions.

“The vertical-axis SeaTwirl design is less complex than the alternatives and has the potential to improve the whole supply chain. NorSea Group is excited to join SeaTwirl and Colruyt Group in developing and testing the SeaTwirl Pilot.”

The vertical-axis wind turbine developed by the company has a tower connected to a subsea structure consisting of a floating element and a keel. The wind turbine, tower and the subsea structure are assembled and rotate as one unit. The tower has a static generator housing. The generator structure and wind turbine are anchored to the seabed by catenary mooring lines.

Being a floating unit, SeaTwirl can be installed in areas that are out the reach of bottom-fixed units, in deep water, where winds are stronger and more reliable.

SeaTwirl has already built and launched a 30-kW prototype, SeaTwirl S1, which proved to be very stable in operation. It earlier said the 1-MW SeaTwirl S2 would be developed by 2020.

In March 2019, the US Patent Office approved SeaTwirl’s patent for its wind turbine. The company said it sees patent protection as important in a potentially large market for floating wind power. “The US is a potentially very large market for floating wind power, not least on the west coast, said SeaTwirl managing director Gabriel Strängberg. “It is particularly important to protect our innovations in the US market.”

SeaTwirl is assessing suitable locations to conduct trials of the S2, and said a site in Norway is a leading contender, although a final decision has yet to be made. “We continue our work towards launching a SeaTwirl turbine of 1 MW in 2020. We have not yet made decision about the test site, but we have already set up a Norwegian subsidiary should Norway be selected,” he explained.

“In October 2018, we signed a power supply deal with Haugaland Kraft in Norway, which means they will buy the electricity we produce if we chose to test the 1 MW unit in Norway.

“In December, we joined the Ocean Energy Scale-Up Alliance and secured a grant of €430,000 (US$481,000) from the Interreg North Sea Region. The purpose of the alliance is to speed up the buildout of pilot projects in the region. It also means that we get access to consultancy services in addition to the grant,” Mr Strängberg said.

“Together with other Swedish companies, SeaTwirl has also been holding exploratory meetings with Taiwanese industry and the administration there. Our solution and our expertise have made us an attractive partner, which is demonstrated by the co-operation agreements we have signed with, among others, Chalmers University of Technology, Research Institute of Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linköping University and Siemens. It is also demonstrated by the fact that industry heavyweights such as MHI Vestas’ former chief executive Jens Tommerup has joined our board.”


Siemens Gamesa steps in as supplier to two long-delayed offshore windfarms

Two French offshore windfarms with a combined capacity of 1.0 GW are to be built using turbines from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy after GE Renewable Energy withdrew from the deal.

GE Renewable Energy said it had reached agreement with Eolien Maritime France (EMF) terminating its involvement with the projects, which would have seen it supply Haliade 150-6MW turbines.

However, although it is stepping away from two of the three projects, it said the memorandum of understanding it has signed with EMF will see it continue to provide and service Haliade 150-6MW turbines for one of the trio of windfarms – whichever of them ‘first clears any legal recourse.’

The agreement relates to the turbines for two of a trio of French bottom-fixed windfarm projects all of which were delayed for years due to permitting and other problems outside the turbine manufacturer’s control.

The projects being developed by EMF, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Saint-Nazaire and Fécamp, were finally approved by the French Government after the tariffs for the projects were reduced but remain the subject of appeals.

GE, which is focusing its effort in the offshore wind industry on its much larger Haliade-X turbine, a 12-MW unit, said cumulative delays since 2012 had significantly impacted the financial viability of the projects for the company. “GE therefore decided to review its engagement in the implementation of all of the projects,” the company said.

“Since the award of the three offshore windfarms to EMF in 2012, GE Renewable Energy has committed the necessary resources and investment to design and manufacture the turbines, including a dedicated engineering office in Nantes and the construction of manufacturing facilities in Saint-Nazaire,” the company noted. This has enabled GE to produce more than 80 turbines for other offshore windfarms in Europe, Asia and North America, but the economics of the French projects have changed significantly in the years since EMF won the contracts to develop them.

Highlighting advances in technology in the intervening period such as the fast growth in the size of turbines, GE said it planned to focus on developing the Haliade-X in future. It will use its facilities at Saint-Nazaire, Nantes and Cherbourg for the ongoing development and commercialisation of the new turbine.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy confirmed it has signed a framework agreement with EMF covering the supply of SWT-7.0-154 DD turbines for two, as yet unidentified projects, but said that the deal is subject to a contract being signed and a final investment decision taken for the windfarms. The deal will also include a 15-year service agreement.

The SWT-7.0-154 DDs will be assembled at Siemens Gamesa’s planned manufacturing facility at Port of Le Havre France, which is currently under development.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy chief executive Markus Tacke said, “We thank EMF and its shareholders for their trust. This agreement strengthens our position in France and strengthens the prospects for the facility in Le Havre.

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