Japan's ClassNK gives thumbs up to WindFloat
Japanese classification body ClassNK has anointed US floating wind pioneer Principle Power’s WindFloat design for use as part of a 5MW demonstrator unit off the coast of the south east Asian nation.
Engineering work that underwrote the Approval in Principle (AiP) was carried out under contract with Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding for a feasibility study for the Japanese government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo).
The AIP means the WindFloat foundation is “conceptually feasible” in line with Japanese design and regulatory standards, and that “risks have been properly analysed and that ClassNK is satisfied that the engineering for the foundation is suitable for deployment in the offshore environment”.
“This issuance from ClassNK, added to Approvals in Principle already received from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and Bureau Veritas (BV), proves the versatility of the WindFloat design process in adapting to various regulatory standards and local requirements,” says Principle Power chief technology officer Dominique Roddier.
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Principle Power now has AiPs for projects off the coasts of the US, Portugal, France and Japan, each of which features a different model turbine, regionally distinct environmental conditions and standalone regulatory regimes.
Principle Power chief executive João Metelo adds: “We are quite pleased to receive this AiP from ClassNK. Along with the other approvals we have received from global classification societies, it serves as an indication how far the WindFloat has come and the broad acceptance it has achieved.
“These approvals are a key demonstration of our progress towards full WindFloat commercialisation.”
The ClassNK AiP is the latest stride forward for the WindFloat concept, a three-column steel semi-submersible foundation engineered for stability with "water-entrapment plates" at the base of each column and moored with chains to the seabed.
Earlier this week, Portugal’s Council of Ministers gave the green-light to the 25MW Windfloat Atlantic project – being developed with next-generation WindFloat platforms off the country’s northern coast by WindPlus, a consortium made up of EDP Renováveis, Mitsubishi subsidiary Diamond Generating Europe, Chiyoda, Engie and Repsol for switch-on in late-2018.
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“This is indeed an important milestone for the project. We are now expecting the project to be fully licensed by the end of the year,” WindPlus general manager Carlos Martin Rivals tells Recharge.
“We will then engage into final negotiations with project suppliers, we will conduct a due diligence for the project financing, with a target to financial close by middle 2017.”
Windfloat platforms are also to be used for a 24MW pilot project being developed by Engie, EDP Renewables, Caisse des Dépôts and Eiffage in the French Mediterranean, one of several demonstrators given the go-ahead by the French government to advance the sector in Europe.