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Portugal Installs First Floating Offshore Wind Turbine [VIDEO]

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August 15, 2012

Located 4000 meters off the northern Portuguese shoreline in approximately 50 meters of water, a pioneering piece of floating machinery is delivering up to 2MW of wind-generated electricity shoreside.

Classed by Houston-based ABS, the WindFloat Aguçadoura project is the first offshore wind deployment in the world that did not require heavy lift equipment offshore. Final assembly and pre-commissioning took place in a controlled shoreside environment. This installation also is the first deployment of a semisubmersible structure supporting a commercial-size wind turbine.

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Image: Hempel Marine Coatings

ABS design review engineers in Houston and ABS surveyors on site at the fabrication facilities in Portugal worked together with the developers and builders during the design, fabrication and installation phases of the project.

ABS certification of the semisubmersible and the mooring system was based on the applicable sections of ABS Offshore Rules and Guides and the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Offshore Wind Turbine Installations. The tower and the turbine were not part of the ABS certification.

The WindFloat is the result of the cooperative efforts of the partners that make up the WindPlus joint venture, an international group led by Portuguese power provider Energías de Portugal (EDP), which, through its Renewable Energy division, is the world’s third-largest supplier of wind energy, and the Spanish oil giant Repsol. Other Windplus JV partners are Principle Power Inc., a US energy technology developer based in Seattle, Washington, and a holder of the Windfloat patent, two Portuguese companies, a steel fabricator A. Silva Matos, and a Portuguese State venture fund InovCapital. The Danish wind turbine producer Vestas Wind Systems provided its V-80 2 MW turbine for the project.

“Up until today, all offshore wind farms have been based on bottom fixed foundations in water depths less than 30 m,” says ABS Offshore Account Manager Lars Samuelsson. “As we go deeper, floating offshore wind turbine foundations may become a cost-effective alternative.”

ABS Chairman Robert D. Somerville attended the inauguration of the Windfloat on 16 June 2012. “As wind demonstrates massive potential as a source for renewable energy, ABS is proud to partner with projects such as the WindFloat,” Somerville says. “With our decades of offshore experience, we have a great existing body of knowledge that we can use to develop guidelines for the next generation of projects that capture growing alternative energy sources such as wind.”

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