World first as WindFloat Atlantic Windfarm is classed by ABS

Source: press release, 14 July 2021

WindFloat Atlantic, 20 kilometres off the coast of Viana do Castello, Portugal
WindFloat Atlantic, 20 kilometres off the coast of Viana do Castello, Portugal (photo: Windplus)

WindFloat Atlantic has become the world’s first classed offshore windfarm, after its three 8.4 MW floating turbines were accepted by the ABS Class Committee.

The three ABS-classed, SEMI Submersible Type units designed by Principle Power housing MHI Vestas turbines make a total of 25 MWs of floating offshore wind power. WindFloat Atlantic, of which Ocean Winds is the majority shareholder, is continental Europe’s first larger scale floating wind farm, 20 kilometres off the coast of Viana do Castello, Portugal.

“It’s a historic first and, we believe, the first of many more to come. ABS has made a significant contribution both to this project and the development of offshore floating wind in Portugal. It underscores the potential of Class and industry working together for the safe adoption of new technologies. ABS has supported innovation in offshore energy since 1958. This landmark project underlines how we continue to support promising offshore technology more than 60 years later,” said Matt Tremblay, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Offshore.

“The WindFloat Atlantic project is again showing its technology reliability. Having achieved formal ABS classification for the three floating platforms is therefore an important milestone for the project shareholders and also for the offshore floating wind industry,” says Jose Pinheiro, Ocean Winds Southern Europe BU Country Manager.

The landmark is the latest step in a journey that began with the earliest days of floating wind in Portugal when ABS supported development of the 2 MW WindFloat 1 that was installed in 2012.

The WindFloat Atlantic project is developed by the Windplus consortium, which is jointly owned by Ocean Winds (50:50 JV owned and created by EDP Renewables and ENGIE), Repsol, and Principle Power Inc.

Thanks to their floating foundations, floating offshore wind farms are not subject to the same depth restrictions as fixed structures and can be at any depth. With the development of larger turbines above 10 MW and research focused on shallow water moorings, the floating technology may even be an alternative to traditional bottom- founded technologies in intermediate water depths in the future.

ABS is the leading classification organisation for floating offshore wind and continues to lead the development of design standards and concepts for floating offshore wind turbine foundations. ABS certified the first commercial-sized semisubmersible floating offshore wind turbine and released the ABS Guide for Building and Classing Floating Offshore Wind Installations in 2013. ABS was the first class society to venture offshore, certifying the world’s first mobile offshore drilling unit in 1958 and classing the first jackup, semisubmersible, drillship, FPSO, TLP and spar.