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Shell acquires floating wind pioneer Eolfi as technology is ‘taking off globally’

Image: Shell.

Image: Shell.

Shell has penned an agreement to acquire French floating wind specialist Eolfi, expanding its renewables division.

Announced today, Shell said the acquisition would bring “specialist expertise” to enhance the company’s existing wind division. The O&G major also backed the deal to present an opportunity to leverage its own offshore experience and project management expertise.

Furthermore, Shell described the move as a “significant step” for the country in France, a market where it sees opportunity for offshore wind to flourish.

Launched in 2012, Eolfi has offices located throughout France and has worked on more than 200 renewable energy projects, both on and offshore, in five countries. It is currently collaborating with a host of partners on a pilot floating wind project off the coast of Brittany. That pilot will see it install three wind turbines on semi-submersible floats.

Floating wind has emerged as a technology of particular interest for energy companies looking to grow their renewables base, and a number of industry heavyweights have made early forays. The 30MW Hywind project, developed by Equinor, is already generating off the coast of Peterhead, and recent reports have called for Scotland in particular to embrace the technology describing it as a multi-billion-pound opportunity.

Dorine Bosman, VP for offshore wind at Shell, described Eolfi as a pioneer in the field. “We believe the union of EolfiI’s expertise and portfolio with Shell’s resources and ability to scale-up will help make electricity a significant business for Shell.”

Eolfi founder Alain Delsupexhe meanwhile said that his company was joining Shell at a time when the floating wind market was “taking off globally”.

“Eolfi’s heritage in floating wind combined with Shell’s offshore expertise and global footprint will enable us to expand offshore, but also onshore with our wind and solar photovoltaic projects as part of the Shell New Energies division. Joining forces with Shell will enable us to continue our mission of producing renewable and competitive electricity,” he said.

Completion of the deal is slated for next month, after which Eolfi will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell.

The transaction caps a year during which the O&G major has made a number of significant acquisitions and investments in the power sector, including the likes of battery manufacturer sonnen, aggregator and energy tech firm Limejump and Asia-focused solar installer Cleantech Solar.

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