The Iberian Peninsula will have the world’s first semi-submersible floating wind farm

Windfloat Atlantic

The first unit of the WindFloat Atlantic project – which will have the largest marine wind turbine on a floating platform – has been sent to its final destination off the Portuguese coast of Viana do Castelo, where the floating wind farm will be installed.

The facility will have three wind turbines on floating platforms anchored to the seabed at a depth of 100 meters.

This project is a milestone for the energy sector, as it is the world’s first semi-submersible floating wind farm.

WindFloat Atlantic is part of the Windplus consortium, formed by EDP Renováveis (54.4%), Engie (25%), Repsol (19.4%) and Principle Power Inc. (1.2%).

A Technological Challenge

Once at the site, the three floating structures – all 30 meters tall and with a 50-meter distance between each column – will be installed and form the first floating wind farm in Continental Europe.

The structure sent from the port of Ferrol includes a floating platform and a wind turbine, the largest ever installed in this type of surface. Another two platforms will be joining it in the coming months.

This 25 MW wind farm will be thus complete and is expected to generate the equivalent to the energy needs of 60,000 users per year.

Each of its three platforms will be equipped with a 8MW commercial turbine and state-of-the-art technology that minimizes the environmental impact and facilitates access to untapped wind resources in deep waters.

Similarly, this technology entails great advantages that make it more accessible and cost-effective. For instance, the fact that it is assembled onshore and, therefore, eliminates the need for a carrier vessel to transport it. Consequently, the platform does not depend on complex offshore operations associated with the installation of traditional fixed structures.

Major Project

The WindFloat Atlantic project is endorsed by the success of the WindFloat1 prototype. This 2 MW experimental system was operational between 2011 and 2016 and generated an uninterrupted energy supply for five years, withstanding extreme weather conditions with waves of up to 17 meters tall and 60-knot winds without damages.

The transportation of the three floating structures that will form the Viana do Castelo wind farm is in itself a milestone since it obviated the need for heavy lift vessels.

This, along with the ease for anchoring, makes this an initiative worth replicating in other sites, thereby eliminating geographical constraints to undertake this type of infrastructure.

WindFloat technology also enables to use the largest wind turbines available in the market, with nearly 9 MW each; contributing to increasing power generation and promoting a considerable reduction of the costs associated with the life cycle.

Construction in Spain and Portugal

The platforms are being built at the two Iberian Peninsula nations, two of them in the Setúbal shipyard (Portugal) and one in the Avilés and Ferrol shipyards (Spain). The project implements a disruptive technology called WindFloat. With it, operators can install wind platforms in deep waters that were so far inaccessible. Thanks to this, a great amount of wind resources can now be harnessed.

This initiative has been supported by public and private institutions, leading to the involvement of major companies in the market. It has also received the support, by means of financing, of the government of Portugal, the European Commission, and the European Investment Bank.

The suppliers that have facilitated the construction of this project – other than Principle Power – include A. Silva Matos, Bourbon, MHI Vestas wind turbine supplier, and JDR Cables.

For more information, visit Energía16

Also see: Windfloat Atlantic: Wind energy for the Iberian Peninsula

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