Meeting the challenges of the Atlantic Ocean with its mighty waves and strong winds, the WindFloat is an innovative new floating offshore platform carrying a 2MW wind turbine designed to explore the possibilities of deep water winds. It was first erected and fully commissioned in October 2011 in the harbour of Setúbal, just south of Lisbon, Portugal. It was then towed by a tug vessel some 400 km and finally installed 5 km off the coast north of Porto.
The platform which the turbine sits on has three vertical columns connected to a truss structure. It is kept in place with anchors, chains and wire. A wind turbine identical to models used in the North Sea as fixed offshore turbines is positioned directly above one of the stabilizing columns. There is an automated balancing system to keep the platform vertical in all wind conditions.
The WindFloat is connected to the Portuguese National Power Grid via a subsea cable, and its 2 MW capacity can produce enough electricity to power 1,300 households.
During its time in operation, the WindFloat has endured the harsh winter environment of the open Atlantic Ocean with waves of up to 15 meters. The system performed remarkably and as expected, using the applied sophisticated design tools.