EDP Renewables’ 25MW WindFloat Atlantic (WFA) floating wind project off Portugal has generated 75GWh in its first year of operation, the developer has reported.

The three-unit array, built using 8.4MW Vestas turbines mated to semisubmersible platforms supplied by Principle Power, has been producing at full output since mid-2020 at a location some 20km off the coast of Viana do Castelo.

“The project has performed well above expectations. It has registered high levels of availability and a production that has exceeded expectations for many months,” said project director José Pinheiro.

“We wanted to share these positive results of a project that has marked a before and after in the offshore wind energy industry because of the technology used and because it has become the first floating and semi-submersible wind farm in the world.”

The WFA project, developed under the banner of the Windplus consortium formed by Ocean Winds – a 50:50 joint-venture between EDPR and Engie – along with Repsol and Principle Power, is generated enough electricity to supply 60,000 inhabitants and to have already saved 33,000 tonnes of CO2.

Principle Power's WindFloat platform was the second industrial-scale design – after Equinor’s 2.3MW Hywind Demo off Norway – to get into the water, with the 2MW WF1 prototype operating in the Portuguese Atlantic from 2011-2016 under a “full life-cycle” demonstration project.

WindFloats have been used for construction of the world’s more powerful floating array, the 50MW Kincardine, off Scotland, as well as being in the frame for a number of international projects, including the 100MW Erebus off Wales, the 30GW Golfe de Lion off France, the up-to-150MW Redwood Coast Offshore Wind Project in the US Pacific.

The Global Wind Energy Council expects 16.5GW of floating turbines to be in the water by 2030, a dramatic increase from the 6.5GW it was anticipating only a year ago, with most of that growth coming in the second half of the decade when the sector, which currently has barely 100MW in place, is tipped for dramatic lift-off.