WindFloat Atlantic – the world’s first semi-submersible floating offshore wind farm – has been online for two years, and it’s far exceeding power output expectations.
The 25 megawatt (MW) WindFloat Atlantic project ended 2022 with an electricity production of 78 gigawatt hours (GWh) – 5% more output than its first year. It supplies power to more than 25,000 households and avoids 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Its annual availability was between 93-94%.
The offshore wind farm sits 20 km off the coast of Portugal in the municipality of Viana do Castelo, north of Porto. It’s made up of three 8.4 MW Vestas wind turbines that sit on semi-submersible, three-column floating platforms anchored by chains to the seabed. A 20 km long (12.4 mile long) cable connects it to an onshore substation.
WindFloat Atlantic was connected to the grid at the end of 2019 and commissioned in 2020, and it’s now finished its full second year in operation. It has an operations and maintenance base in the port of Viana do Castelo, where the team receives the wind farm’s information in real time so can address any issues that arise in real time. Onsite intervention can be complex, due to adverse weather and sea conditions in the area where it’s sited.
It’s a joint venture between Spanish renewable company EDPR, global energy firm ENGIE, Spanish energy firm Repsol, and California-headquartered floating offshore wind firm Principle Power.
Principle Power, which also worked on Scotland’s Kincardine, the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, says on its website that the “WindFloat” technology is compatible with any standard offshore wind turbine and can be deployed in waters deeper than 40 m (131 feet).
So, what makes semi-submersible floating offshore wind unique? Here’s what Principle Power says:
The WindFloat has been developed specifically to achieve exceptional stability performance, while reducing structural weight, and simplifying logistics during installation and operation.
The virtual pitch- and yaw-free performance in the offshore environment allows the use of existing commercial offshore wind turbines, located at one of the columns, with only minor modifications to control software.
Photo: Principle Power
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