ENGIE commissions the first floating wind turbine in continental Europe

By ENGIE - 16 January 2020 - 15:55

The first wind turbine in continental Europe has been commissioned at Portugal. It results from the partnership that ENGIE formed with EDP RENEWABLES, REPSOL and PRINCIPLE POWER, leading to the creation of the WindFloat Atlantic consortium.


WindFloat Atlantic’s first of the three wind turbines has been commissioned 20 km off the coast of Viana do Castelo, in Portugal. With a height of 190 metres, it is also now the tallest floating wind turbine in the world. Two more will follow in the coming months. Once arrived at their destination, the three 30-metre floating structures, with their columns 50 metres apart, will be installed to form the first floating wind farm in continental Europe.


The project will speed up commercial deployment of WindFloat’s innovative technology, to harness the potential of previously inaccessible wind resources on the high seas. 


WindFloat allows energy resources to be developed over vast marine areas and addresses major challenges, such as the transition to zero carbon, energy security and combating climate change, while creating jobs, economic growth and opportunities for sustainable investments.


In the coming months, two further platforms will be added to complete the wind farm. With an installed capacity of 25 MW, it will be able to generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of the equivalent of 60,000 people.

WindFloat Atlantic, a technological success and a substantial investment


The installation is equipped with three turbines mounted on floating platforms anchored to the seabed only by chains, at a depth of 100 metres. It is also equipped with cutting-edge technology to minimise the environmental impact and facilitate access to wind resources on the high seas that have so far been untapped. This technology offers versatile benefits improving accessibility and profitability, such as its capacity for dry dock assembly and transport without the intervention of a specialised tug, and is not based on complex offshore operations, generally associated with the installation of foundations on the seabed. The project aims to take advantage of WindFloat’s innovative technology to allow the installation of wind power platforms on the high seas, a previously inaccessible area in which abundant wind resources can now be exploited.

The WindFloat Atlantic project is based on the success of the WindFloat1 prototype, in service between 2011 and 2016. This 2 MW prototype made it possible to generate electricity continuously for 5 years while resisting extreme weather conditions, including waves up to 17 metres high and winds reaching 60 knots, without any damage.


Just transporting the first of the three floating structures of the Viana do Castelo floating wind farm is an important step in itself, as it avoids the use of a tug specifically designed for this operation. This advantage, coupled with a simple mooring process, makes it possible to replicate this initiative in other areas and facilitates the commissioning phase, regardless of geographic limits.


WindFloat is also able to accommodate the world’s largest commercial turbines, with an output of almost 9 MW each, thereby increasing electricity production and significantly reducing the life-cycle costs of the installation.


This initiative has the support of both public and private institutions, encouraging leading companies in their sectors to participate in the project. In parallel, the Portuguese government, European Commission and European Investment Bank participated in financing the operations.


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