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Floating forward: first WindFloat Atlantic unit ready to head out

Online next year, the three-unit array will power 60,000 homes

The first of three floating wind platforms to be installed as part of the EDPR-led WindPlus consortium’s 25MW WindFloat Atlantic (WFA) project off Portugal has been loaded out at Navantia’s yard Fene, Spain.

“The new installation represents a flagship project in the innovative sector of floating wind energy and will contribute to the development, standardisation and manufacturing improvement of multi-megawatt modular floating platforms, which is a key objective under the Strategic Energy Technology Plan of the European Commission,” EDP Innovation CEO Antonia Vidigal said in a post on LinkedIn.

Powering floating wind into the future

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WindPlus – made up of the Portuguese utility, Spanish energy company Repsol and US technology designer Principle Power – is developing WFA in waters of some 100 metres off Viano do Castelo, in the north of the country. Once online in 2020, the array, being powered by three 8.3MW MHI Vestas V164 turbines, will produce enough power for 60,000 homes.

The other two platforms are being manufactured in the ASM shipyard in Setúbal, Portugal.

The WindFloat platform is a steel triangular semisubmersible design that combines water entrapment, or ‘heave’, plates at the base of each of its three columns along with an “active ballast” hull-trim system and a conventional three-line, chain-based mooring spread for stability in water depths of 40-1,000 metres.

California-headquartered Principle Power was one of the earliest movers in the floating wind space, with a current project pipeline totalling some 9GW, including 200MW near-horizon arrays off the UK, Europe and Asia.

As well WFA, it is providing plaforms for the 24MW Engie-led Leucate project due online in the French Mediterranean in 2020/21, and a 150MW wind farm moving ahead off Humboldt County in northern California for switch on as early as 2024. And it also re-commissioned the original WindFloat prototype as a scout unit on the 50MW Kincardine project off Scotland.

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