The offshore wind industry passed a milestone recently with the installation of the world's first floating offshore wind turbine off the coast of Agucadoura, Portugal. The WindFloat project consists of a 2-MW semi-submersible wind turbine that can be deployed without heavy machinery.
Principle Power, Inc., a Seattle-based offshore wind developer, and Energias de Portugal, a Portuguese utility, worked with more than 60 other vendors in the WindPlus JV group. The turbine was assembled onshore in a controlled environment before it was transported to the sea and towed more than 217 miles to open water.
CEO of Principle Power Alla Weinstein said in a written statement, "In a way we are making a similar leap towards new energy resources as the Oil & Gas industry did in the 1970's when it began using floating structures.”
The structure will undergo trial operations, commissioning and startup procedures over the next few weeks. These procedures will include a full production capacity test.
The WindFloat technology decreases wave and wind-induced motions, which allows a large turbine to be placed in waters with depths of more that 164 feet, where it is able to capture stronger winds. The platform allows for the use of any off-the-shelf turbine.
"The (deep) ocean is the next big energy frontier," said António Vidigal, CEO of EDP Inovação, in a press release. "Deep offshore wind technology, in particular the WindFloat, will allow us to harness stronger and more stable winds, and in the medium term deliver sustainable energy into our electrical system. Now is the time for extensive testing and validation, moving forward in the development of this promising technology. The WindFloat positions EDP on the leading edge of offshore wind exploration."
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