Innovative floating wind farm begins generating power off Portugal’s coast
A wind turbine floating off the coast in northern Portugal has begun transmitting electricity to the grid. The introduction of this technology is a crucial step that could vastly increase the potential for offshore wind power, and serve as an example for future investment.
The WindFloat Atlantic project, backed by European energy companies EDP Renovaveis SA, Engie SA and Repsol SA, uses a floating platform developed by Principle Power Inc, a renewable energy specialist.
Three turbines with a combined 25 megawatt capacity will eventually be connected to the grid, but for now only a single one has been set up. It is hoped that this wind farm will have the effect of helping to advance the economic viability of floating wind farms in the increasingly competitive market for renewable energy.
Floating turbines could have a built-in advantage over traditional offshore platforms in the sense that they can be placed more readily. They can operate in waters much deeper than the relatively shallow seabeds required to anchor stationary masts also.
To exemplify, these turbines in Portugal float 100 meters (328 feet) above the seafloor, some two-thirds deeper than the maximum depth of fixed offshore farms.
Places such as France, South Korea and Japan share Portugal’s coastal magnitude, meaning that they possess similar ambitions to grow their low-carbon power supply in this manner.
The 8.4 megawatt MHI Vestas turbine installed off the coast of northern Portugal is extremely large in comparison with other turbines, and close to the ideal size preferred by the offshore wind industry’s leading developers. Bigger machines have enabled offshore wind growth in Europe by generating more power and shortening the payback period on investments.
Replicating that innovation on floating platforms such as these could be a crucial step toward further commercialization and better renewable energy production.