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2/21/2011 | 2 MINUTE READ

Vestas, WindPlus to deploy floating wind turbine structure

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Vestas and joint venture firm WindPlus will install and test a Vestas V80-2.0MW wind turbine on a floating turbine platform for 12 months off the coast of Portugal. The platform is designed for use in waters deeper than 50m.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Randers, Denmark) reported on Feb. 18 that it has signed an agreement with WindPlus for the deployment of the first offshore project worldwide integrating a wind turbine with a full-scale semi-submersible floating structure. This is the first time this floating platform technology is being used.

WindPlus is a joint venture company led by the EDP Group with partners including Principle Power Inc. and several other entities. Its pioneer project, called the WindFloat Project, has the potential to lay the foundations for further development of the offshore business while helping to exploit the enormous offshore potential worldwide.

The contract with WindPlus includes delivery, installation and commissioning of a Vestas V80-2.0MW wind turbine for the project, which will be located off the Portuguese coast. Turbine delivery will take place in 2011. Vestas will be the technology reference for the project, supporting the integration of the wind turbine and the WindFloat platform.

Principle Power’s WindFloat is a patented semi-submersible floating structure for offshore wind turbines. Innovative features of the WindFloat dampen wave and turbine induced motion, enabling offshore wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 50m/164 ft and wind resources are superior.

The system integrating the V80-2.0 MW wind turbine and the floating structure will be tested for no less than 12 months with a focus on performance, validation of the WindFloat and turbine control optimization. In addition, commissioning/decommissioning and operation and maintenance studies will be conducted.

First deployment of a commercial semi-submersible floating platform
Pending results of this project, the successful deployment of the first 2-MW semi-submersible floating platform carries the potential to become the first commercial semi-submersible floating platform for wind offshore electricity generation. Thus, it represents a great opportunity for the implementation of future offshore projects worldwide, especially in regions with large and deep coast lines.

“EDP has selected offshore wind energy as one of its five innovation priorities and the WindFloat is one of the most promising technologies in this area. Pending results of this key demonstration stage, EDP will be better positioned to tackle offshore wind challenges worldwide,” asserted António Mexia, CEO of EDP.

“We at Principle Power welcome the EDP Group and Vestas as early adopters of our enabling technology,” says Alla Weinstein, president and CEO of Principle Power. “All the industrial skills and facilities needed are available in Portugal. This project is a significant step forward for Portugal in meeting its 2020 renewable energy generating targets and harvesting its deepwater offshore wind resources.”

Anders Søe-Jensen, President Vestas Offshore explains: “At Vestas, we are continuously looking into different solutions and materials that will bring even more value to our customers and lower the cost of energy in future offshore wind power plants. In that respect, floating foundations are one of the solutions, along with monopile and jacket foundations, with potential for harvesting wind in deeper water offshore sites.”