WindFloat gets AIP for floating wind turbine foundation

WindFloat Floating Offshore Wind Turbine (FOWT) foundation WindFloat Floating Offshore Wind Turbine (FOWT) foundation

APRIL 14, 2016 – Classification society Bureau Veritas has given Approval in Principle (AIP) to the WindFloat Floating Offshore Wind Turbine (FOWT) foundation.

Designed by Principle Power, Inc.,  WindFloat consists of a ballasted floating platform that supports a multi-megawatt wind turbine generator. It is unmanned, and carries no significant quantity of pollutant substances. The three-column platform is moored with a three-line catenary mooring system and is equipped with a closed-loop ballast system to compensate for changes in mean wind velocity and direction.

A WindFloat prototype has been deployed in Portugal, 5nkm off the coast of Aguçadoura, since 2011. To date, it has produced and delivered over16 GWh of electricity to the grid, demonstrating the concept feasibility without significant issues.

As we reported last month (see story) WindFloat is one of the two floating support structures being eyed by  Trident Winds, LLC for its  proposed floating wind energy project offshore Morro Bay, CA.

The AIP just granted by Bureau Veritas is for the second generation of WindFloat technology, intended to be part of a pilot array of floating offshore wind turbines in the French Mediterranean sea, to be developed by ENGIE and EIFFAGE.

Matthieu de Tugny, Senior Vice-President and Head of Offshore, Bureau Veritas, says, "FOWT technology will help exploit clean renewable offshore wind power. It offers substantial advantages over fixed offshore wind turbines as the entire unit can be assembled ashore and FOWTs can be installed in deep water and areas with varied underwater landscapes. There is also a much lower environmental impact from their installation. Our expertise with the offshore floating structures and metocean conditions means we can ensure designs for new FOWTs will be safe, reliable and will produce power over the expected range of environmental conditions."

Approval in Principle (AIP) for Bureau Veritas implies that the design is feasible, achievable, and contains no technological show-stoppers that may prevent the design from being matured and that the design is deemed to be suitable for use in the metocean conditions that the unit facility will be located in. Bureau Veritas' engineers verified design methodologies, covering hydrodynamics, structure, stability, electricity and machinery to check that that the design is deemed to be suitable for use in all phases of operation including in-transit to field, installation, hook-up, commissioning, start-up, operations and offloading and provide recommendations to fulfil through the following phases of the project.

Joao Metelo, President and CEO of Principle Power say, "We're very pleased to receive this endorsement of our technology from such an esteemed body as Bureau Veritas. It's another important step for Principle Power as the WindFloat establishes its commercial readiness."

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