Innovation is about new technologies for more renewable energy – such as offshore wind – but that is not all: it is also about attitude, looking for ongoing improvement every day at what we do.
Our company has been implementing successful innovative solutions to increase the operational and economic performance of our assets for years, throughall the lifecycle of our projects: improving the design of the layouts to achieve the best wind resource, decreasing construction costs and risks and increasing the production of our operational power plants developing new technological solutions designed in-house.
After great results, the innovation efforts will continue in our onshore operations, as well as EDPR’s new focus on finding feasible solutions in the offshore section of our business. To do so our company participates in two projects that focus on the foundations, one of the most important elements of the power plant. Both based in the coast of Aguçadoura (north of Portugal), thus sharing knowledge and resources, WindFloat and DEMOGRAVI3 will help to reduce costs opening new markets for the offshore wind industry.
The ‘WindFloat’ project is one of the flagstaffs of the renewable R&D project list at EDP, with a deep waters offshore prototype that has reported excellent results after four years in operation under harsh conditions, having to endure waves up to 15 meters high, off the northern coast of Portugal.
This is the most ambitious innovation project on floating offshore technology conducted worldwide so far, the first wind energy turbine in open waters in the Atlantic ocean, and also the first time for a triangular semi- submersible floating structure supporting a 2 MW wind turbine allowing the utilization of offshore winds with great stability at water depths below 40 meters, existing at long distances from the coast. It is the first offshore wind energy project in the world not requiring the use of any heavy offshore lifting equipment. The whole process of final assembly, installation and commissioning was performed on land, in a controlled environment. When the construction on land was completed in dry docks, the structure was towed for about 350 kilometres in the open water. The capability to undertake the towing operation under such circumstances can be attributed to the performance and stability of WindFloat. These factors also allow any ready-to-use commercial wind turbines of any manufacturer to be installed on WindFloat. The project is a partnership between EDP, Repsol, Principle Power, A. Silva Matos, Vestas and InovCapital and is also supported by the Innovation Support Fund (FAI), involving more than 60 suppliers, more than two thirds are Portuguese.
After successfully finalizing the first phase of the project, next steps consists on the installation of a full scale floating wind farm of 27 MW.
In November 2015 EDP was granted European funding to develop new technology for offshore wind power. DEMOGRAVI3 is a project that aims to develop an innovative gravity based foundation for offshore wind turbines and will be funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The consortium developing this new project will be coordinated by EDP, through EDPR. DEMOGRAVI3 will test a wind turbine with an innovative gravitational foundation made of concrete and steel. The project will last for four years, including the installation of a wind turbine taking advantage of the underwater cable connecting the WindFloat turbine to a substation on land.
Unlike the solution based on a floating platform successfully tested with Windfloat, DEMOGRAVI3 will be installed on the seabed, although it will already be assembled and floated to the mooring place. The whole structure of the turbine and its constituent elements will be assembled on shore and then transported. The main innovation of this structure thus avoids the necessity for heavy lift vessels to anchor and assemble all the turbine components in an offshore environment.
The project includes other technological partners such as: TYPSA, ASM Energia, Univ. Politécnica de Madrid, WavEC, Acciona Infraestructuras, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft IWES, Gavin & Doherty Geo Solutions and Global Maritime AS.