Total adds new floating wind project to growing green portfolio

Floating offshore wind farm Image: Aker Solutions

Total SE took a stake in a French floating wind farm project, its third investment in the nascent industry this year as the oil and gas giant reshapes itself for a low-carbon future.

While wind farms built directly on the sea bed have become widespread and cost-competitive with other forms of energy, floating turbines that would allow clean electricity to be generated in deeper waters are a relatively new technology.

“This announcement once again demonstrates the group’s ambition and willingness to innovate in the field of renewable energies,” Julien Pouget, the head of renewables at Total, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Floating offshore wind is a very promising segment in which Total notably brings its extensive experience in offshore projects.”

Total bought a 20 per cent interest in the 30-megawatt Eolmed project developed by Qair in the Mediterranean Sea, the company said. No price was given for the transaction.

European oil companies are ramping up investments in renewable energy as governments, consumers and investors demand swifter moves to tackle climate change. Last month, BP plc and Equinor ASA formed an alliance to build offshore wind farms.

Total first entered the floating-wind market this year, acquiring stakes in projects off South Korea and Wales. It also bought an interest in a giant offshore wind development in Scottish waters.

The energy giant plans to spend more than $2 billion a year on electricity and renewables projects in the next five years, and more than $3 billion a year after that. It has already invested $8 billion since 2016 buying a battery maker and power utilities and developing solar and wind projects.

It aims to have stakes in 7 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity at the end of 2020, rising to 35 gigawatts in 2025.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.