Posts Tagged ‘Jon Bonnano’


Image: Principle Power

Portugal has become a prime spot for wave energy farms, given the coastal conditions and the government’s support for renewable energy projects. Now Portuguese energy powerhouse Energias de Portugal has signed an agreement with Seattle’s Principle Power for a deep-water floating wind farm.

It’s the second floating wind farm for Principle Power, which last October inked a contract to construct a 150-megawatt turbine power plant off the Oregon coast. The Oregon plan calls for 30 floating platforms that will each sport a five-megawatt wind turbine – which is about twice the size of the biggest land-based turbines in commercial operation. (General Electric (GE) makes a 3.6-megawatt turbine designed for offshore and Clipper Windpower is developing a ten-megawatt prototype.)

Details of the deal with Portugal’s EDP, however, are next to non-existent. Principle Power president Jon Bonanno told Green Wombat that the size of the Portuguese wind farm, the type of turbine it will use, its cost and build date are confidential. “What I can say is that the phased build out will result in a utility scale project, within a reasonable time frame for a plant of its size and nature,” Bonanno wrote in an e-mail.

The Seattle startup did reveal that the agreement with EDP calls for it to first deploy a single floating turbine platform, which it calls a WindFloat. “Innovative features of the WindFloat dampen wave and turbine induced motion, enabling wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 50 meters and wind resources are superior,” Principle said in a statement.

If the WindFloat is successful, then a demonstration project will be built and a commercial wind farm will follow. Deep-water offshore wind farms pose a number of technological and economic challenges but the expected payoff is the production of  cheaper electricity from massive turbines that will be located far enough offshore to avoid the NIMBY problems that have plagued projects in the United States and elsewhere.

EDP became one of the world’s biggest wind farmers in 2007 when it acquired Horizon Wind Energy from Goldman Sachs for $2 billion.

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