Oil and Gas Specialist Aker Solutions Invests in Offshore Floating Wind

Floating wind turbine WindFloat
Photo: Principle Power 

Offshore oil and gas industry service provider Aker Solutions is expanding into the offshore floating wind market through an investment in Emeryville, California-based Principle Power Inc., maker of the WindFloat floating wind turbine foundation.

Aker Solutions has an extensive track record in developing offshore oil and gas fields, with particular capabilities in floating facilities. The company says the addition of Principle Power will bring its offshore oil and gas field engineering expertise into the fast-growing renewable energy market.

The partnership will also help bring Principle Power’s innovative WindFloat technology to a broader market.

According to Aker, 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.

The introduction of floating turbines, an area of the offshore wind energy industry that is still in its infancy, has the potential to open offshore sites further from land and irrespective of water depth, where wind energy power may be more abundant.

“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.

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.

With the investment from Aker Solutions, Principle Power has raised its Series B equity round of $13 million, which can be increased to $17 million at investors’ discretion. Major shareholders in Principle Power include EDP Ventures, Repsol, ASM Industries and Portugal Ventures.