Floating offshore wind farm

Floating offshore wind

Floating offshore wind: French know-how driven by dynamic R&D is on the upswing

Floating offshore wind sector: a market with promising development

Floating offshore wind technology makes it possible to envisage the deployment of offshore systems in areas inaccessible to bottom-fixed wind turbines due to water depth of more than 60 m. Its proven efficiency also for shallow waters makes it a competitive alternative to the use of piles or gravity foundations. Developing this technology would allow better exploitation of offshore wind fields. The first pilot farms show an average load factor of 65% to 70% when the bottom-fixed wind turbines have a load factor of 40-45% offshore and 22% onshore. The distance from the coast offers a more constant wind with a higher average speed, but represents a strong constraint for the export of the power produced. The market is emerging, with development supported by several pilot farms, some of which are already in operation. Knowing that 80% of the offshore wind energy available in Europe is located in depths suitable for floating technology and that the additional operating costs compared to bottom-fixed wind turbines  are lower than expected, the sector anticipates very rapid development. This is confirmed by the performance of current prototypes, which is better than initially forecast.

Reliability and performance issues

The main challenges for the deployment of floating offshore wind sector in France and internationally are :

  • The reliability of mobile systems over 20 to 25 years in a hostile marine environment,
  • A gain in performance conditioned by the minimisation of production losses linked to floating structure movements,
  • The reliability and robustness of the dynamic part of the power export cable,
  • The integration of future commercial farms with existing marine activities,
  • The setting up of an industrial sector and dedicated port areas,
  • The construction of an installation and maintenance chain with adapted means,
  • The economic attractiveness that requires achieving an average cost of energy produced that is competitive with other sources of decarbonated energy,
  • Applicable regulations and the acceptability of projects that can cause significant delays that then limit the deployment of technologies.

In France, calls for tenders for four pilot farms were awarded in 2016. The first productions are expected in 2022. In the framework of the law on multiannual programming of energy published in 2020, the French State announces commercial farms to be awarded as early as 2021. These elements underline the need to provide rapid responses to the challenges of floating offshore wind sector.

Wind resource, system design and environmental impact

France Energies Marines contributes to providing solutions for the floating offshore wind sector, mainly through collaborative R&D projects that enable :

  • Reducing uncertainties on the characterisation of wind resources and thus contribute to the optimisation of production (ARCWIND, CARAVELE, CASSIOWPE and POWSEIDOM projects);
  • Better characterising the physical environment, particularly wave fields, while taking into account the impact of breaking waves on floating structures (DIME and DIMPACT projects);
  • Evaluating mooring solutions that reduce investment costs while guaranteeing a system payback, thus increasing performance, and propose adapted design standards (POLYAMOOR and MONAMOOR projects);
  • Improving the prediction of the service life of dynamic export cables, electrical substations and mooring lines in order to propose adapted monitoring solutions and optimise the maintenance plan and conservative design costs to cover uncertainties (OMDYN2, DYNAMO, LISORE, MOSISS, MHM-EMR, ABIOP+, POLYAMOOR, MONAMOOR, SUBSEE 4D and DIONYSOS projects);
  • Proposing innovative strategies to optimise the farm design and operations at sea (FLOWTOM, MUTANC projects);
  • Optimising environmental, societal and economic impact studies by proposing original models integrating the ecosystem in the broadest sense to support the acceptability of projects (TROPHIK, APPEAL and WINDSERV projects);
  • Supporting the choice of locations and future impact studies, in particular by proposing appropriate means and methods for data acquisition (GEOBIRD, ORNIT-EOF, ECOSYSM-EOF, SEMMACAPE and OWFSOMM projects);
  • Studying the potential environmental effects of the systems by assessing the effect of electromagnetic fields from submarine cables (SPECIES project), passive acoustic monitoring of benthos (BENTHOSCOPE and BENTHOSCOPE2 projects) or the quantitative assessment of metals released into the marine environment from galvanic anodes (ANODE project);
  • Identifying ways to improve the environmental and societal sustainability of offshore wind farms by analysing their life cycle (LIF-OWI project);
  • Developing a research platform at sea (FOWRCE SEA project);
  • Carrying out preliminary studies about the hydrogen offshore production (OPHARM project),
  • Proposing multi-criteria optimisation for the supply of isolated grid (OPTILE project).

Recommendations for the evolution of current standards

The various studies to which the Institute contributes aim to provide the sector with validated models, adapted measurement methods, representative data and recommendation reports based on recognised expertise. An ongoing project on biofouling (ABIOP+ project) thus provides decisive elements for the design of mooring lines and dynamic cables by qualifying and quantifying the growth of biocolonisation in the vicinity of future farms and measuring its effect on the behaviour of these critical components. The results of this project reinforce the confidence of developers in taking biofouling into account by proposing to standardise the characterisation protocol for this influential parameter. The work carried out as part of our dimensioning and in-service monitoring activity is conducted in the presence of certifying bodies and produces recommendations intended to develop current standards.

List of publications related to floating offshore wind (PDF)

Photo credit: Naval Energies


In progress


Socio-ecosystemic approach to the impact of floating wind farms



Wind characterisation for offshore renewable energies applications



Mooring health monitoring for offshore renewable energy systems



Accounting for biofouling through established protocols of quantification

In progress


Consideration of biofouling using quantification protocols useful for engineering



Quantitative evaluation of metals released into the marine environment from the galvanic anodes of ORE structures.



Adaptation and implementation of floating wind energy conversion technology for the Atlantic Region



Understanding and monitoring of ORE impacts on the benthic compartment via a measurement platform dedicated to passive acoustic

In progress


Characterising the atmosphere and sea surface interactions for the deployment of offshore wind in the Gulf of Lion



High-resolution local analysis of wave and breaking variability from satellite imagery

In progress


Committee of experts for offshore renewable energies environmental issues

In progress


Design and metocean: modelling and observations of extreme sea states for offshore renewable energies

In progress


Design of floating wind turbines and impacts of energetic steep and breaking waves

In progress


Digital intelligent operational network using hybrid sensors / simulations approach



Dynamics of hydraulic dunes and impact on ORE projects

In progress


Dynamic cable monitoring

In progress


Prefiguration of an observatory of marine ecosystems in interaction with floating offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Lion



French working group on cumulative effects of ORE projects



Proof of concept for an innovative floating wind turbine

In progress


Effective monitoring strategies to identify and evaluate effects of offshore wind farms and their export cables on fish communities

In progress


Floating offshore wind turbines operation and maintenance

In progress


Future offshore wind research center at sea

In progress


Environmental, socio-economic and technological challenges for life cycle assessments of offshore wind farms



Innovative and cost-effective offshore substations for ORE by 2025



Development of an innovative geolocation tag for seabirds



Assessment of the Mediterranean observational data system for targeted applications

In progress


Modelling of marine dunes: local and large-scale evolutions in an OWF context

In progress


Monitoring of polyamide mooring lines

In progress


Monitoring strategies for innovative substations

In progress


Mutualised anchors for offshore wind farms

In progress


Offshore production of hydrogen analysis and roadmap



Dynamic umbilicals for offshore renewable energies

In progress


Dynamic umbilicals for floating marine renewable energies technologies - Phase 2

In progress


Multi-criteria optimisation for offgrid marine renewable electrical production

In progress


Prefiguration of an observatory of the Gulf of Lion birdlife in interaction with floating offshore wind farms

In progress


Offshore wind farm surveys of marine megafauna: standardisation of tools and methods for monitoring at farm scales



Durable and flexible polyamide moorings for offshore renewable energies

In progress


Deployment of wind and turbulence observations in the Mediterranean

In progress


Monitoring and study of marine megafauna in wind farms by automatic characterisation



Subsea power cables interactions with environment and associated surveys

In progress


A digital twin to facilitate the operation of floating wind farms



Modelling the role of offshore wind farms in modifying the functioning of coastal food webs and cumulative impact



Optimisation software for tidal and floating offshore turbine arrays: state of the art, comparison and new tools specification



Hydro-aero-elastic modelling of floating offshore wind turbines



Towards a multi-model approach of indicators of ecosystem services


How to optimise wind turbines design and offshore operations according to sea states?

Characterisation of biofouling and deployment of measuring buoys

Coordination and participation in expert panels on ORE

Design and in-service monitoring of power cables and moorings

Ecosystem approach of the impact of offshore wind farms

Marine life monitoring

MEMOFLOW, the permanent Mediterranean observatory for floating offshore wind sector

Offshore renewable energies farm optimisation

Resource and site characterisation

Training in the field of offshore renewable energies

Media library



Herveline Gaborieau

Herveline Gaborieau

Deputy Executive Director

Florence Lafon

Florence Lafon

Head of the Mediterranean office and Operation & Maintenance Project Manager


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