The first platform of the 25 MW WindFloat Atlantic windfarm has been connected to the grid and is now generating power.

According to project owner EDP Renewables, the 8.4 MW wind turbine is the world’s largest installed on a floating platform. The WindFloat Atlantic units measure 30 metres in height and have a 50-metre distance between columns.

The turbine is connected to the substation of Viana do Castelo via a 20-km-long cable.

The other two units will be connected successively. Specific timing was not given, but EDP said the second of the three platforms has arrived at its final destination.

The WindFloat Atlantic platforms are anchored with chains to the seabed at a depth of 100 m. They are designed to be transported by standard towing craft, as opposed to bottom-fixed projects that require expensive vessels to be mobilized for transport, and their on-shore assembly helps scale back logistics, financial and environmental costs associated with marine construction EDP says. These technological advantages make it viable for the project to be replicated anywhere in the world, at a much larger scale.

Once fully operational, the wind farm will be able to generate enough energy to supply the equivalent of 60,000 users each year, EDP says.

The project is led by the Windplus consortium, comprising EDP Renewables (54.4%), Engie (25%), Repsol (19.4%) and Principle Power Inc. (1.2%). The WindFloat Atlantic project builds on the success of the WindFloat1 prototype, which was in operation from 2011 to 2016. The 2-MW prototype generated energy uninterruptedly, surviving extreme weather conditions, including waves up to 17 m tall and 60-knot wind.

The government of Portugal, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank have provided financial support.

EDP says the partners that have made this project possible include, in addition to Principle Power, the joint venture between Navantia/Windar, the A. Silva Matos Group, Bourbon, the wind turbine supplier MHI Vestas and dynamic cable supplier JDR Cables.

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Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.