World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm to Come Online in 2019

The WindFloat project is developed by the Windplus consortium, which is jointly owned by EDP Renewables, ENGIE, Repsol and Principle Power off the coast of Portugal.

WindFloat turbine. Image courtesy of Principle Power via ABS

WindFloat Atlantic, featuring the world’s largest offshore wind turbine on a floating platform, is about to be installed and should come online by the end of the year. The project is located more than 12 miles off the Portuguese coast of Viana Do Castelo and is Europe’s first large-scale floating wind farm.

The WindFloat project is developed by the Windplus consortium, which is jointly owned by EDP Renewables (54.4 percent), ENGIE (25 percent), Repsol (19.4 percent) and Principle Power (1.2 percent). The development is built on the same principles as the original Principle Power designed concept—WindFloat 1—installed offshore Portugal in 2011. This 2-megawatt prototype successfully generated energy uninterrupted over five years, surviving extreme weather conditions, including waves up to 56 feet tall and 60-knot winds.

A product of cooperation

The turbine has a generating capacity of 8.4 megawatts and is the first of three ABS-classes, semisubmersible type units designed by Principle Power using MHI Vestas turbines that will make up for a total of 25 megawatts of floating offshore wind power. This capacity will be able to generate enough energy to supply the power needs of 60,000 users per year.

Each of the three wind turbines will be mounted on floating platforms, built in cooperation between Portugal and Spain, that are anchored only with chains to the seabed at a depth of 328 feet. However, their floating foundations enable them to avoid the depth restrictions of fixed structures and can be at any depth. Larger turbines (such as those above 10 megawatts) can reduce capital costs as well as operating costs, and paired with research on shallow water moorings, the floating technology could be a strong alternative to traditional bottom-founded technologies in intermediate water depths.

ABS is a global provider of classification and technical advisory services to the marine and offshore industries. The entity works with industry and clients to develop accurate and cost-effective compliance, optimized performance and operational efficiency for marine and offshore assets. ABS certified the first commercial-sized semisubmersible floating offshore wind turbine in 2011.

Video courtesy of EDP Renewables