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Floating Offshore Wind System: The WindFloat

Date: October 07, 2013 at 23:22 GMT

Abstract: Offshore wind development in Europe’s North Sea Basin has shown the potential and capacity to satisfy the electrical energy needs of coastal and in land communities. Underlying this, wind strength offshore is greater and more consistent than terrestrial winds. In addition, land based wind generators must overcome logistical and transmission challenges that limit grid penetration of land-based wind energy. Offshore wind turbines can generate energy much closer to highly populated coastal load centers. Further, offshore wind can diversify electric energy supply and provide complementary wind energy to existing terrestrial production.

This paper discusses the WindFloat concept, a semisubmersible floating support structure for large offshore wind turbines of 3 MW or greater. Principle Power is currently partnering with the Portuguese utility Energies de Portugal (EDP) and fabricator A. Silva Matos (ASM) to develop offshore wind in Portugal. The first phase of this cooperation is the construction of a full-scale prototype to be installed off the coast of Portugal in 2011.

In subsequent design iterations, the WindFloat may be combined with other types of renewable energy generators, such as wave energy converters, in a hybrid structure for increased energy production, - resulting in a reduction of environmental impacts and in a reduction of levelized energy costs. Principle Power is currently under a contract with the US Department of Energy to assess the technical, economic and permitting feasibility of such a hybrid wind/wave device. 


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