Portuguese Floating Wind Farm Shows Better-Than-Expected Results

floating offshore wind
Courtesy EDP Renewables

Published Sep 27, 2021 10:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

Portuguese utility EDP Renewables has good news about its WindFloat Atlantic floating offshore wind farm, the first project of its kind with semi-submersible platform bases. In its first full year of operation, WndFloat Atlantic's three turbines produced 75 GWh of electricity, exceeding expectations for the pre-commercial scale development. 

"The project has performed well above expectations. It has registered high levels of availability and a production that has exceeded expectations for many months," said EDPR project director said José Pinheiro. "We wanted to share these positive results of a project that has marked a 'before and after' in the offshore wind energy industry because of the technology used and because it has become the first floating and semi-submersible wind farm in the world." 

EDPR is already exploring options for commercial-scale developments in Portugal and abroad, and it is working through a JV partnership with Engie to bring the system to market. 
WindFloat Atlantic draws on platform technology developed by Principle Power, an engineering startup based in California. Repsol also contributed to the pilot-scale installation. 

Floating offshore wind has a much larger global potential than near-shore, bottom-fixed sites, but also comes at a significant lifetime cost premium. Its proponents hope to bring down the cost of moorings, float structures, and long-term maintenance as the technology matures. 

Principle Power is seeing early success in the budding floating-wind market. Its platforms are also in use at Statkraft's Kincardine wind farm off Scotland, which is the world's largest at a capacity of 50 MW. Kincardine just started operations this month, becoming the second large-scale installation of turbines based on semi-submersible platform. Cobra and Flotation Energy, the firms behind Kincardine, are also among the bidders in Scotland's giant ScotWind lease round. 

Principle Power says that it is learning from each of these projects, finding "important innovations in modularization and manufacturability to further increase deliverability and competitiveness." A third generation of its design will be deployed for the Les Éoliennes Flottantes du Golfe de Lion (EFGL) project off Leucate, France.