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Portugal’s first floating wind turbine installed

Turbine tech claimed to be a world first for offshore wind installations

WindFloat is claimed to be the world’s first offshore wind project built without heavy lifting equipment (Image:Principle Power)

Portugal’s first floating offshore wind turbine has been installed and certified. A US classification organisation has certified the pioneer 2MW WindFloat Aguçadoura project. The turbine has received certification for the design, fabrication and installation from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The floating facility is claimed to be the world’s first offshore wind deployment built without heavy lifting vessels or piling equipment at sea. It is also the first deployment of a semisubmersible structure supporting a commercial-size wind turbine.

The WindFloat installation is the latest offshore project to focus on floating wind technology. The development follows a period of testing the technology throughout 2012.

The Vestas’ V-80 2 MW turbine system is capable of producing enough electricity to power 1,300 homes. It is located 4km off the northern coast of Portugal in approximately 50-metre water depth.

According to ABS, standard offshore wind farms use foundations that are fixed to the seabed. The company said floating foundations could become a reasonable alternative when the water depth increases.
 
Lars Samuelsson, ABS offshore account manager, said: “Up until today, all offshore wind farms have been based on bottom fixed foundations in water depths less than 30 metres. As we go deeper, floating offshore wind turbine foundations may become a cost-effective alternative”.

Ditlev Engel, Vestas CEO, added: “Floating foundations are one of the solutions with the highest potential for harvesting wind in deeper waters, and the WindFloat project was a highly interesting possibility for us to help explore this area within offshore wind”.