Many factors can determine the feasibility of an offshore wind power project: water depth, wind speed, aesthetics, financing and access to transmission lines are just a few. Currently, installing offshore wind turbines requires the use of heavy, custom-designed vessels to lift turbines on to set platforms. But this might soon change. Wind-power giant Vestas has completed work on its first floating wind turbine designed for use in waters deeper than about 115 feet.
The WindFloat prototype integrates the well-tested V80-2.0, a 2-megawatt turbine, onto a floating platform designed by Seattle-based offshore rig company Principle Power. The turbine was assembled at the Lisnave shipyard in Portugal. According to Vestas, operators will soon tug the WindFloat about 215 miles to the coast of Agucadoura on the Portuguese west coast, where it will be tested for at least a year.
The WindFloat will be the first offshore wind turbine to be installed without the use of lift vessels, and it will also be the world’s first floating wind turbine platform facing the Atlantic Ocean, Vestas said.
In a video of the final assembly released by Vestas, the crew describes some of the challenges and opportunities presented by the WindFloat’s design, including the “rocking” of the platform, and the ability to harness wind resources from high-wind areas that are currently inaccessible. You can see the video immediately below.