Hard work and cooperation has allowed the new kid on the block to be installed and sailed to its new home off the coast of Aguçadoura, Portugal. Here, the WindFloat conquers the deeper waters.
The WindFloat, the floating foundation fitted with a Vestas’ V80-2.0 MW turbine has been installed in a different way than the traditional offshore turbine. The new kid on the block requires adjustments to be made to suit its engineering anatomy to the floating foundation system. The turbulence of the Atlantic waters is expected to challenge the construction of the tower, the nacelle, the control system and the many other parts that form an offshore turbine, so flexibility in the construction is an essential part of the project.
While the adventurous element of such a pilot project may be alluring, one might wonder why Vestas is partaking in this type of technology research – that is from a commercial point of view. Anders Søe-Jensen, President of Vestas Offshore explains shortly:
“I am extremely pleased to see the first Vestas turbine on a floating foundation and look forward to seeing the results of the rigorous testing that we will be performing. We always strive to explore innovative new ways of making offshore wind an even better business for our customers and floating foundations could well be possible way of doing so.”
Leading this potential future platform for offshore turbines in Vestas Offshore is; Ulrik Skyttergaard. He explains in detail how the project has been shaped and led by EDP-R, Principle Power and Vestas during the last 18 months with the vision of exploring deep water technology and the possible financial benefits of offshore wind power at water depths greater than 50 meters.
“Cooperation is the word for this project, because it is not just a Vestas project or a Principle Power project – it includes other professionals with specific expertise. Together, we have worked hard to ensure that we were several steps ahead of the process even though this is a pilot project and we cannot foresee everything. We have witnessed interesting new methods being developed for pre-commissioning and testing.” Says Ulrik, who now plans for weeks with rigorous testing of risk mitigation of the control system.
The partners representing WindPlus, the customer are: Principle Power INC., EDP-R, InovCapital, A. Silva Matos (ASM), and Fundo de Apoio à Inovação (FAI).
The WindFloat has been assembled, installed and pre-commissioned in a dry-dock and this unusual offshore approach has allowed the project partners to develop a deeper understanding of the new technology.
Besides being able to float, the WindFloat is designed to balance between the three foundation sections when the wind blows at high speeds.
It has been installed without the use of heavy lift offshore equipment at sea and has been tugged 400 km to its new home.