What is expected to be the world’s second floating offshore wind farm has received a financial boost from the European Union after the European Investment Bank announced its intention to provide a €60 million loan to Portuguese company Windplus for its planned 25 megawatt (MW) demonstration project off the coast of Portugal.
Portuguese company Windplus — a subsidiary of EDP Renewables, Repsol, and Principle Power — will receive the €60 million loan under the European Investment Bank’s InnovFin Energy Demonstration Project program to support the development and construction of its 25 MW WindFloat Atlantic project. Set to be located 20 kilometers off the Viana do Castelo coast of the north of Portugal, WindFloat will consist of three MHI Vestas V164-8.4 MW wind turbines — the largest and most powerful wind turbines ever installed onto a floating foundation at sea.
The project will be located 20 kilometers off the coast in waters between 85 to 100 meters deep, highlighting the benefits that floating offshore wind can provide. Being able to be positioned further out from the coast not only puts them further away from people’s line of sight, but it also places them into more consistently stronger winds. To replicate this with a traditional offshore wind turbine built into the seafloor would need much larger foundations and require construction crews to work in much more dangerous conditions — increasing the price exorbitantly.
Further, much of the construction, installation, and operation and maintenance for floating offshore wind turbines can be done in port, rather than in situ, again reducing traditional costs.
The project is set to only be the world’s second floating offshore wind farm after the completion of the 30 MW Hywind Scotland in late 2017. Developed by Statoil (now Equinor), Hywind Scotland quickly began outperforming expectations as it operated at levels consistently above that of more traditional offshore turbines.
“After the success of the world’s first floating offshore wind farm – Equinor’s Hywind project in Scotland – it’s great to see a second project going ahead. Floating offshore wind now stands at the cusp of large-scale commercialisation,” said Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, the region’s wind energy trade body.
“With the right policy measures, it could really take off over the next five to ten years. We’ve seen with bottom-fixed offshore wind how quickly costs can come down.
“The same could happen with floating. With the right visibility on volumes and industrialisation, floating offshore wind costs could fall from today’s €180-200/MWh to €40-60/MWh by 2030. To make his happen countries should learn from Hywind and WindFloat and include floating offshore wind in their National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030. And they should run floating-specific auctions to deliver these volumes.”
The European Investment Bank’s investment will come from its InnovFin Energy Demonstration Project facility, which is funded under the EU’s current research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Further, the project will benefit from €29.9 million from the European Union’s NER300 programme, and up to €6 million from the Government of Portugal, through the Portuguese Carbon Fund.
“Through this agreement, the EU bank is financing cutting-edge energy technology that will be deployed in Portugal and that will make it possible to install windfarms in locations that were not feasible until this moment, contributing to Europe’s leadership in developing innovative responses to the climate change challenge. This agreement is a good demonstration of the EIB’s commitment to financing innovation and climate action.” – Navarro
“The commitment to renewable energy, coupled with a strong investment in innovation, has been one of EDP’s strategic priorities over the last decade,” added EDP’s CEO, António Mexia.
“Our group continues to expand its renewable capacity both in the markets where it is already present and by entering into new countries. The windfloat explores new promising technology and once again positions EDP as the world’s leading wind power company, now pioneering a project in the offshore industry. This new technology, suitable for deep waters such as those of Portugal, has already proved successful in its first phase under demanding conditions, and this new phase marks a steady transition to an ambitious commercial stage.” – Mexia