April 17, 2018 Read More →

Floating Offshore Wind Project Planned in California

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

Off the rugged coast of Northern California’s Humboldt County, renewable energy developers are hoping to construct a utility-scale floating offshore wind farm, part of a broader effort to scale up the technology and turn floating wind into a global clean energy supplier.

EDP Renováveis’ North American offshore wind unit formed a public-private partnership with four other renewable energy companies to develop a utility-scale floating offshore wind project off the California coast with Eureka-based energy provider Redwood Coast Energy Authority. The WindFloat project will have between 100 MW and 150 MW of generation capacity.

EDP Renováveis is one of a handful of companies betting that floating offshore wind technology will eventually become a thriving, profitable industry. Given the costs and logistical challenges of installing and operating floating turbines in deep ocean waters, though, that is by no means a sure thing.

Enrique Alvarez-Uria, EDPR’s offshore development director, said the WindFloat project will reach utility-scale in three phases: at 2 MW, then at 30 MW before it reaches more than 100 MW. EDPR benefits from previous experience in floating offshore wind projects, such as its joint 24-MW floating offshore wind pilot project with ENGIE SA in France. But Alvarez-Uria acknowledged that the nascent technology faces commercial challenges with a limited track record and an undeveloped supply chain.

Traditional offshore wind projects are fixed-bottom, which means each turbine has a base driven into the ocean floor. That limits the projects to shallower waters, where a smaller portion of the world’s offshore wind resource potential is located. Floating offshore wind turbines have long cables that anchor the base into the seabed and stabilize the structure as it rests on the surface, enabling them to go into deeper waters.

More ($): Developers Eye Big Bets On Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

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