Aker Solutions invested in floating wind power technology company Principle Power Inc., forming an alliance that brings its offshore oil and gas field engineering expertise into a fast-growing renewable energy market.
Aker Solutions has an extensive track record in developing offshore oil and gas fields, with particular capabilities in floating facilities. The partnership will help bring Principle Power’s technology – an innovative floating foundation for offshore wind turbines, known as WindFloat – to a broader market.
“We see a major opportunity in offshore floating wind where demand is growing in the transition to a low-carbon future,” said Aker Solutions Chief Executive Officer Luis Araujo. “Combining our capabilities with Principle Power’s technology will help advance floating solutions for offshore wind, reducing costs and risks for customers and spurring further growth in the sector.”
“Partnering with Aker Solutions will strengthen our leading market position and accelerate the wider development of the offshore wind industry, with floating wind acting as a key industry enabler at a time when demand is increasing globally,” said João Metelo, chief executive officer of Principle Power.
Offshore installed capacity for wind power is expected to more than double by 2022 from 2016 levels amid a global push to use fuels with lower carbon emissions following the 2015 Paris agreement to reduce carbon dioxide as a way to tackle climate change.
This goes hand in hand with Aker Solutions’ push into sustainable energy solutions. The company has commercially available carbon capture, utilization and storage technology, an essential tool in helping to meet global emissions targets. It also has leading capabilities in natural gas, a fuel that complements the global shift to more renewable power.
Principle Power’s WindFloat foundation allows wind turbines to be placed at offshore sites with some of the most abundant wind resources, irrespective of water depths. Installation, operation and maintenance of the WindFloat foundation lower the risks, costs and environmental impact compared with competing technology.
In October, 2011, Principle Power deployed a full-scale 2MW WindFloat prototype (WF1) off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal. The structure was completely assembled and commissioned onshore before being towed along the Portuguese coast (from it’s assembly facility near Setubal, Portugal). To date the system has produced in excess of 16GWh of electricity, delivered by sub-sea cable, to the local grid.
Aker Solutions purchased an initial 5 percent stake in Principle Power and will increase this to 10 percent by the end of this year. It has the option to increase ownership further at a later stage. The companies are not disclosing the value of the transaction.