The €23 million project aims to overcome the absence of a continental shelf which has hindered the development of offshore wind in the Iberian peninsula, Italy and France. The project was initially announced in 2009.
By demonstrating that large turbines can successfully operate from a floating platform in waters deeper than 50m, EDP hopes to open up this big potential market.
WindFloat has been developed jointly with Principle Power, Vestas and Repsol. "This is an historic moment that takes your breath away," said Alla Weinstein, CEO of Principle Power. "In a way we are making a similar leap towards new energy resources as the oil & gas industry did in the 1970s, when it began using floating structures."
If the pilot scheme is successful after 12-24 months the plan is to install 27 MW pre-commercial project using larger 5-6 MW turbines possibly at a different site. This will eventually be upgraded to a fully commercial 150 MW wind farm.
Movement is one of the problems for floating turbine platforms. As a result both the turbine and the plaform have undergone adjustments in order to dampen the wave and turbine motion vibrations.
Principle Powers' WindFloat platforms, which consist of three moored, semi-submerged columns with a ballast inside and horizontal metal plates at the base of each column providing stability in extreme weather.