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Published on June 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Floating Wind Turbine Installed off Portuguese Coast

June 18th, 2012 by  

We’ve been following the Principle Power and Vestas offshore floating wind turbine and floating WindFloat foundation for awhile. The exciting news is that today it was finally announced the the floating turbine was inaugurated on Friday, June 16.

"Full-scale WindFloat Prototype with Vestas v80 2.0MW being towed to site offshore of Portugal."

“In addition to being the first offshore wind turbine in Portugal, this is the first offshore wind turbine to be installed without the use of any heavy lift vessels or piling equipment at sea,” Principle Power announced today. “All final assembly, installation and pre-commissioning of the turbine and substructure took place on land in a controlled environment. The complete system was then wet-towed offshore using simple tug vessels.”

Here are more technical details and comments from Principle Power:

The WindFloat is equipped with a Vestas v80 2.0MW turbine capable of producing enough electricity for 1,300 households. The system is located 5km off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal, and has already produced in excess of 1.7 GWh. The WindFloat ushers in a new era in the offshore wind industry permitting utilities to target the highest quality wind resources, independent of water depth. In addition, projects can realize significant cost and risk reductions as a result of the onshore fabrication and commissioning scheme.

The successful installation and on-going operations of the WindFloat in Portugal is the result of hard work and foresight on part of the WindPlus joint venture, comprised of EDP, Repsol, Principle Power, ASM, Vestas Wind Systems A/S and InovCapital including a subsidy from the Innovation Support Fund (Fundo de Apoio à Inovação – FAI). Additionally, over 60 other European suppliers, 40 of them Portuguese, supplied key components to the project. Repsol has recently joined the Windplus JV as a significant shareholder bringing additional offshore experience and operational capabilities to the project team.

Congratulations to the many companies involved in getting this floating wind turbine up and running. I look forward to reporting more news on this project, commercialization of floating turbines, and future projects in the future.

Images & caption via Principle Power.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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  • Luke

    Fantastic news! Floating offshore wind expands the limits of where wind farms could be built – farther offshore (away from NIMBY’s), and in deeper water, perhaps 100m-200m, despite the fact the turbine has to be tethered.

    On a side note – it may have generated 1.7GWh, but is it connected to the grid?

    • WF1

       Yes, the WindFloat it is connected to the grid and has been delivering clean energy since the end of last year.

      • John

        U say it has been delivering clean energy to the grid for over 6 month but only generated 1700000 kwh has there bin many stops do too the foundations??? Its a 2MW turbine and capable of produceing 1.4 mill kwh pr month, at its bedst conditions is there no wind offshore portugal 🙂
        Otherwise it looks very good and cool concept.

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  • Awesome, they seem to have thought everything through.  I just wonder how these stay in place (flexible anchor? gps-tied underwater propellers?) to avoid bumping into each other? How often is the maintenance interval to remove barnacles, service parts? Lifetime per turbine? Tsunami/hurricane impact? Whale impact? Avoiding electric shock of sea life? (I’m sure everything is insulated…) Other than that looks great!

    • Dihydrogen_Monoxide

      A good question Ken.
      According to the picture above (you can enlarge it by clicking on it) it mentions a “Mooring System and Anchors”.  The picture also mentions gangways and facilities for boat landing and safety equipment.

    • WF1

       The WindFloat uses drag imbedded anchors and conventional slack mooring that keeps the unit at the desired location.  Maintenance is no different than would be on any seagoing vessels.  Slack mooring is designed to withstand local storm conditions.

      • thanks for chiming in with the specifics. was going to do my best to supply a simplified answer, but much better getting the exact answer from the co. 😀

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