Principle Power, Inc., a renewable energy technology developer based in Seattle, Washington, is developing an innovative device called the WindWaveFloat that will generate electricity from wind and wave energy offshore. The company has received $1.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the combined wind and wave technology.
Principle Power, Inc. focuses on deepwater offshore wind energy with a floating support structure for wind turbines that can be installed in water over 50 meters deep, taking advantage of the stronger winds that blow off the coast. This device called the WindFloat is being equipped with wave energy converters in order to simultaneously take advantage of wind and wave energy. Principle Power is doing modeling and testing in a wave tank to determine the best wave energy technology to use on the platforms.
As reported by Caleb Dennison in Earth Techling, Principle Power uses a triangular platform that floats below the surface and doesn’t require a foundation on the seafloor. The platform is anchored by cables. The wind turbine is installed on one of the columns of the triangular platform and the other columns are ballasted to maintain stability.
According to Principle Power, the stability of the WindFloat platform provides low pitch, so commercial wind turbines can be used. The WindFloat can be assembled onshore and due to its shallow draft it can be towed, fully assembled, from shore to deepwater locations offshore. This reduces costs by avoiding heavy lifting operations offshore. The mooring system involves chains and polyester lines, also reducing costs, and pre-laid embedded anchors, minimizing the impact on the site.
Principle Power indicates that the primary markets for the WindFloat technology are previously inaccessible deep water offshore wind sites in the U.S. and Europe, with secondary markets in Asia and Oceania. As reported by Aaron Colter for Earth Techling, in March 2011, Principle Power announced that it had signed a contract with Energias de Portugal to install a 2 megawatt WindFloat off the coast of Portugal.
The offshore wind turbine platform will be tested for at least a year in Agucadoura, Portugal, the home of the world’s first commercial wave energy farm. The project is being funded in part by Portugal’s Ministry of the Economy through a grant from the Innovation Support Fund.
Principle Power points out that while it is slightly more expensive to recover electricity offshore, there is a potential to generate up to 50% more energy from offshore wind compared to onshore wind. In the U.S., Principle Power has joined a consortium to develop and build up to three wind platforms at a deep-water offshore wind test site off the coast of Maine. And the company is working with the local public utility and community leaders to install a deep-water offshore platform off the north central coast of Oregon.
Aaron Colter, Offshore Wind Heads to Portugal Via Seattle, Earth Techling
Caleb Dennison, Floating Wind, Wave Power Platform Funded, Earth Techling
Mark Higgins, Innovative Deepwater Platform Aims to Harness Offshore Wind and Wave Power, Energy.gov
Site Overview, Principle Power, Inc.
WindFloat, Principle Power, Inc.