Principle Power receives "Invest in Provence" Award

Principle Power receives
25 March 2016 / Implantez, Générale, Energies, Naval
The wind turbine technologies of the future are being developed in Provence

At a reception given by the United States Consul-General in Marseille on March 22, 2016, one of the events organized to welcome a delegation of maritime-sector companies from the San Diego area, the Invest in Provence Award was presented to Principle Power by Provence Promotion president Martine Vassal. The award is intended to recompense entrepreneurs who have made the choice to locate their development projects in Provence.

A pioneer in offshore wind turbine technologies, the Californian company is the perfect example of a successful move to Provence. With offices in Aix-en-Provence, opened in 2013, Principle Power is only the second company in the world to have tested these technologies in the field, just behind Norway's Statoil and has chosen France as its base to conquer the European market. "Provence was an obvious choice for us, since the potential for offshore floating wind turbines in the region is huge. Added to that is an exceptional quality of living that allows us to attract and hold on to the talent we need to develop our leading-edge technologies" explains Christian Cermelli, Principle Power's chief naval architect. Founded in the US in 2007 by two French engineers, the SME has received support from international groups such as EDP, REPSOL and Shell, who recently signed a partnership deal.

The company has designed a first prototype connected to the grid, the Windfloat system, which was set up and trialed off Portugal as early as 2011.  Thanks to this experiment and to the data collected over the years, Principle Power today has acquired a high level of expertise. The presence of this member of the R&D community in Aix-en-Provence is a real plus for the region and the entire renewable energy sector. Even though the company remains small in size (5 employees at the Aix-en-Provence site), its perspectives for growth are very promising, especially with regard to the Government's call for projects (AAP) for pilot wind farms off the French coast. Principle Power, associated with Eiffage, is tendering for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur zone, proposing high output turbines (up to 8MW) at a reduced manufacturing cost (assembled on land, traditional anchoring system, shallow-draught structure …).

Provence Promotion and its partners are providing Principle Power with support in this project aiming to promote energy transition, with financing studies leveraging research tax credits and contacts with engineering schools but also help in finding real estate. The commercial and industrial deployment of marine renewable energies (MREs) would eventually provide solutions for many economic and environmental issues. In the future, innovation in offshore wind power generation should be a source of jobs as well as growth. From design and installation through to maintenance at sea, wind turbines draw on a wide range of skills in fields such as mechanics, electronics and component manufacturing.

In France, further to the calls to tender published in 2011 and 2013, the renewable energies professional body Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables estimates that 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in constructing the first six offshore wind farms allocated, generating 3000 MW. Industry insiders estimate that, by 2030, the offshore wind energy sector could be employing 30,000 people across France.