Into the deep: floating offshore wind turbines

Vestas and venture company WindPlus set deep ambition for the world's first floating wind farm off the coast of Portugal. With access to steadier, stronger winds, could floating turbines turn the tide for offshore wind power?
Written by Melissa Mahony, Contributor

Vestas, a Danish company that has installed about half the world's more 'traditional' offshore wind farms, has agreed to supply Energias de Portugal (EDP)with a single turbine to test the waters for floating turbines. They will test the turbine for at least a year before sending the apparatus into the eastern Atlantic.

I first discussed the WindFloat Project last summer when a feasibility report deemed the semi-submersible structures would not topple over in rough waves. The three legs of the platform, set 115 feet apart, will feature a closed-loop ballast system and 80-foot-wide horizontal plates to counteract ocean’s movement and hopefully, keep the platform level and the windmill upright.

Alla Weinstein of Principle Power, the Seattle-based company that developed WindFloat, says in a statement:

We at Principle Power welcome the EDP Group and Vestas as early adopters of our enabling technology. 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.

The Vestas V80 turbine will have a capacity of 2 megawatts. The platforms can apparently keep a 5 megawatt turbine steady in water depths up to 164 feet.

Installing extra tall turbines into deep lake bottoms has been one issue facing the potential offshore wind industry in the Great Lakes.

In other deep endeavors, Deepwater Wind plans to build four-legged platforms that attach to seabeds of 170 feet beneath the surface. The proposed 1,000-megawatt wind farm would be about 18 to 27 miles off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Deeper still, is HyWindpilot project in the North Sea. This turbine design involves a single, floating pole with a 3-point mooring spread attached to the sea floor. According to Hywind, the turbine could perform in seas of more than 330 feet.

Watch how WindFloat is meant to work in the video below:

Related on SmartPlanet:

Images: Vestas
: Cleantechnica

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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