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Around thirty onshore and offshore projects

TotalEnergies is banking on the development of renewable energies - wind, solar, thermal hybrid and storage - to tackle climate change challenges and provide a response to new expectations when it comes to power supply. At Saclay, thirty or so researchers are working on an R&D Wind program. They draw on the expertise in geophysics, turbines, maintenance, environmental monitoring, and so on, available at the CSTJF. The aim is to design competitive, innovative and sustainable solutions to develop offshore (fixed and floating) and onshore wind farms.

"At the end of 2023, we had 17 gigawatts of offshore wind power under development. Onshore wind is mature, and floating offshore wind energy is particularly promising. We still have a lot of effort to plough in to R&D to make it competitive and reduce costs by 75%".

Mark Been,
Vice-President R&D Power


Future floating wind turbines

In 2021, TotalEnergies kicked off an R&D Wind program to develop floating offshore wind, involving "new-generation" wind turbines installed on floating platforms, rather than anchored in the ground like most of the current installations. So, what’s the advantage? They can be installed further off the coast where the wind is strongest, with lower impacts for neighboring communities and fishing activities. Today, standard "bottom-fixed" wind turbines account for almost all the wind turbines in the world, are installed in relatively shallow-water areas where as floating wind turbines can be installed in much deeper water. To make sure we are ready in 2035, the R&D Wind program at TotalEnergies is testing a new technology of semi-submersible floats, equipped with an active ballasting system to keep the wind turbine upright despite the force of the wind. This disruptive technology is designed to maintain the wind turbine in production in weather conditions equivalent to the most severe storm observed in the last fifty years. A pilot project spearheaded by TotalEnergies will begin in 2025, near the Culzean offshore platform in the North Sea, to validate this new type of float. In France, TotalEnergies is already part of a consortium participating in the Eolmed offshore floating wind farm off Port-la-Nouvelle, which uses barge-float technology. At the same time, business developments continue on bottom-fixed wind turbines (¾ of offshore projects): Seagreen in the United Kingdom, Yunlin in Taiwan, New York Bight in the United States, with its wind turbines as tall as the Eiffel Tower, 70 kilometers off the coast....and on onshore wind turbines.


Sharing expertise at the CSTJF

The R&D Wind program works on five topics: Offshore pilots, Resources and Producibles, Sustainable development, Structure support and Turbines and Support to farms - all subjects in which the engineers and researchers at the CSTJF have developed reference expertise grounded in the Company’s (gas and hydrocarbons) exploration & production activities. Synergies among competencies have been found in areas like sustainable development - biodiversity, societal impact, environmental monitoring, recycling, etc. - geophysics and geotechnical studies, which provide vital knowledge of the subsurface, required to anchor wind turbines or drive piles, run operations (smart room, maintenance, electricity, marine structures, etc.) and manage projects.

"Wind power activity is currently focused onshore and offshore in shallow waters, with the turbines anchored to the seabed. Floating offshore wind turbines in deeper waters could represent a development opportunity in the future if our R&D initiatives manage to significantly reduce costs. Our R&D Wind program is pursuing the development of onshore and shallow offshore wind technologies while preparing for the future by investigating new technologies for floating wind turbines."

Guillaume Clément,
System Integration/O&M Engineer