Principle Power Awarded DOE Advanced Technology Grant for Design of WindFloat Pacific Demonstration

13 December 2012

Seattle, WA (USA), December 13, 2012 – Principle Power, Inc. (Principle Power) is pleased to announce the award of a $4M US Department of Energy grant and up to $47M in total funding to support the WindFloat Pacific Demonstration Project, a 30MW floating offshore wind farm planned to be located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 15 miles due west of the Oregon’s Port of Coos Bay.  The scope of work for the grant will be finalized in the coming months with particular focus on public outreach, front-end engineering design, and initial project permitting. Project partners include Siemens Wind Power, Houston Offshore Engineering, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, MacArtney Underwater Technology, RPS Evan Hamilton, Herrera Environmental, Forristall Ocean Engineering, the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas.

The WindFloat is a patented floating foundation for offshore wind turbines. The WindFloat’s innovative features allow wind turbines to be sited out-of-sight from shore in deepwater locations where the wind is stronger and more consistent. The WindFloat eliminates the need for seabed-disturbing foundation structures and can be sited to avoid conflicts with other marine uses.  To date, offshore wind farm locations have been limited by technology and project economics to environmentally and stakeholder sensitive shallow water areas near-to-shore. The WindFloat offers considerable economic advantages over traditional offshore wind foundations because the entire turbine and floating foundation is built on shore, and installed with conventional tug vessels. The WindFloat is a cost-effective, simpler and less risky approach for offshore wind development.  

A prototype of the WindFloat system, equipped with a Vestas v80 2.0MW turbine, has been operating successfully off the coast of Portugal since October 2011. This was the first multi-megawatt offshore wind turbine to be installed without the use of any heavy lift vessels. Additionally, no pilings or seabed foundations were required, eliminating offshore construction related noise. All final assembly, installation and pre-commissioning of the WindFloat (including hull and turbine) took place on land in a shipyard’s dry-dock. The complete system was then towed offshore using conventional tug vessels.

“The WindFloat eliminates many installation and environmental risks, while offering access to more robust wind resources, resulting in a reduction in the cost of energy” said Alla Weinstein, CEO of Principle Power. “This DOE grant, the support of the State of Oregon, the Port of Coos Bay, and the project partners are the essential elements for the success of the project.  The future of the offshore wind industry lies in deeper waters and we are now taking the critical next steps.”