Subsea vessel employer Aker Solutions enters offshore wind

Oil services company Aker Solutions has planted its flag in the renewables sector this week, adding another subsea vessel employer to the growing sector.

Aker is taking a 5% stake in Principle Power, a Spanish and Portuguese-backed provider of floating foundations for wind turbines.

Aker sees surge in new contracts

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“We see a major opportunity in offshore floating wind where demand is growing in the transition to a low-carbon future,” Aker chief executive Luis Araujo said.

The Oslo-listed company said it expects installed capacity for offshore wind power to more than double by 2022 from 2016.

The next big leap for offshore wind is expected to be floating turbines.

More than 70% of the world’s offshore wind market is in shallow waters and based on monopiles driven into the seabed, according to DNV GL.

Floating turbines in deeper waters will open up wind resources for countries without access to sufficiently shallow waters, while also ushering in more demand for vessels.

Principle’s two largest shareholders are two well-known names in European energy. Major electricity operator Energias de Portugal (EDP) holds a 26% stake via venture capital arm EDP Ventures, while Spanish global energy company Repsol holds a 25% stake in Principle, which has its main offices in Spain, Portugal and the US.

Aker says its initial 5% stake in Principle will rise to 10% by the end of 2018, with an option to raise the stake again later. No value has been revealed on the investment.