A Lot of Work Still to Be Done on Principle Power’s WindFloat Project (USA)
After the announcement that Principle Power’s unsolicited lease request for the WindFloat Pacific project, a proposed 30 MW floating offshore wind project off Coos Bay Oregon, has been determined to be complete by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the company said that it is very excited to have reached this milestone. However, this is only one of many steps towards the development of its WindFloat Pacific project.
Kevin Banister, Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs for Principle Power and the WindFloat Pacific project manager, said: “We still have a lot of work to do with the Coos Bay community and the permitting and engineering aspects of the project.”
The WindFloat is a patented floating foundation for offshore wind turbines. The WindFloat’s innovative features allow wind turbines to be sited out-of-sight from shore in deepwater locations where the wind is stronger and more consistent. The WindFloat eliminates the need for seabed-disturbing foundation structures and can be sited to avoid conflicts with other marine uses.
To date, offshore wind farm locations have been limited by technology and project economics to environmentally and stakeholder sensitive shallow water areas near-to-shore. The WindFloat offers considerable economic advantages over traditional offshore wind foundations because the entire turbine and floating foundation is built on shore, and installed with conventional tug vessels. The WindFloat is a cost-effective, simpler and less risky approach for offshore wind development.
A prototype WindFloat system (WF1), equipped with a Vestas v80 2.0MW turbine, has been operational off the coast of Portugal since October 2011 and has delivered in excess of 7GWh of wind energy to the local grid. WF1 was the first multi-megawatt offshore wind turbine in the world to be installed without the use of heavy lift vessels or offshore construction equipment.
Additionally, no pilings or seabed foundations were required, eliminating offshore construction related noise. All final assembly, installation and pre-commissioning of the WindFloat (including hull and turbine) took place on land in a shipyard’s dry-dock. The complete system was then towed offshore using conventional tug vessels.
“WindFloat Pacific is the first offshore wind project proposed for the West Coast of the United States, an area which has the potential to contribute vast amounts of offshore wind renewable energy,” said Alla Weinstein, President and CEO of Principle Power. “With the water depth off the West Coast prohibiting installation of fixed foundations, floating offshore wind solutions are a necessity. WindFloat is an enabling technology positioned to open the US West Coast to offshore wind development, while creating a new industry and local jobs.”
Press release, October 2, 2013; Image: Bourbon