The WindFloat, the pioneering prototype of wind energy production based on a platform off the coast of Póvoa do Varzim has completed the 1st phase of testing. The wind turbine will be towed back to port. In its place, in Aguçadoura, a new technology will be installed. The WindFloat project will continue a few kilometers north, in Viana do Castelo, where the first floating offshore wind farm with this technology will be installed, a project that will prepare the entire value chain for subsequent entry into the commercial operating phase.
The five-year trial of the WindFloat has proved the reliability of the technology solution in adverse weather conditions, having withstood waves of over 17 meters and winds exceeding 60 knots. Sea storms did not affect the production capacity of the wind turbine anchored on a floating platform. The WindFloat, unique worldwide, has generated and injected into the national grid over 17 GWh and demonstrated high levels of availability.
The decommissioning operation now beginning will show, once more, the advantages of technology over traditional platform solutions based on the seabed. This version of floating platform is particularly suitable for transitional and deep water coastal areas, being much easier to disassemble when decommissioning or during maintenance operations, is less costly and has less environmental impact. The WindFloat will be cut loose from the grid cable and from the mooring lines and towed to port, where a final inspection will be performed.
Under the leadership of EDP, the WindFloat has been developed by a consortium that includes the technology partner Principle Power, Repsol, the venture capital company Portugal Ventures and metalwork company A. Silva Matos. "The WindFloat is the most-successful R&D project in the area of offshore renewable energy in Portugal, positioning the country and the partners involved at the forefront of floating offshore wind technology worldwide," says the director of EDP Inovação, Luís Manuel. "The next step is the implementation of the first project with several turbines" he said, referring to WindFloat Atlantic. This future wind farm in Viana do Castelo already has national and European R&D funding pledged. The project is in the final design phase. "We believe that in the future there will be many more floating offshore wind farms in the world," said the manager of EDP.
It is a conviction shared by Principle Power. "We managed the WindFloat testing program step by step, collecting at every stage evidence of the effectiveness and innovation brought by this technology to the offshore market. We will continue to incorporate all the lessons learned in the various WindFloat projects worldwide" João Metelo, CEO of Principle Power, says.