Floating wind turbines really seem to grab our attention. I imagine this is for three reasons: 1) they break through the clear limits other technologies cannot, 2) they greatly expand wind energy potential, and 3) we like things that float (OK, maybe it’s mostly the first two reasons..).
Now, only a couple of floating wind turbines have ever been deployed. A Blue H floating wind turbine was deployed 70 miles (113 kilometers) off the coast of Italy in 2007 (December). After a test year aimed mostly at gathering data, the turbine was decommissioned. In 2009 (September), Statoil (yes, primarily an oil and gas company) launched Hywind in the North Sea near Norway. The company called it “the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine.” It is still in operation today.
Vestas and WindPlus Planning Deployment of Innovative Offshore Wind Turbine Platform
Vestas and WindPlus are now planning to deploy another floating wind turbine using a first-of-its-kind floating platform technology.
Wind energy giant Vestas recently announced that it signed a contract with WindPlus — a joint venture company whose partners include the EDP Group, Principle Power, and several others — to have WindPlus deliver, install and commission a Vestas V80-2.0MW wind turbine for an offshore wind power project off the coast of Portugal.
The Vestas wind turbine will be delivered sometime in 2011 and Vestas will be “the technology reference for the project” and will support “the integration of the wind turbine and the WindFloat platform.”
WindFloat, designed and patented by Principle Power, is unique in that it decreases wave- and turbine-induced motion (see the video above), which allows the placement of offshore wind turbines in depths of over 164 feet (50 meters) — wind resources are much greater in such areas than above the shallower waters where offshore wind turbines can currently be placed.
The wind turbine platform off the coast of Portugal will be in commission and tested for at least one year.
If this offshore floating wind turbine technology works well, as anticipated, it could become “the first commercial semi-submersible floating platform for wind offshore electricity generation.”