Group led by EDP Renewables to invest in floating wind farm

LISBON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A consortium led by Portugal’s EDP Renewables (EDPR) will invest 125 million euros ($144 million) over three years in a 25 megawatt (MW) floating offshore wind farm, EDPR’s principal shareholder Energias de Portugal said on Friday.

The project, Europe’s second floating wind farm, involves anchoring three turbines on semi-submersible platforms at water depths of up to 100 metres. The wind farm will be in the Atlantic about 20 km (13 miles) off the coast of Viana de Castelo in northern Portugal.

The farm’s total capacity of 25 MW will be enough to power 60,000 homes for a year. The turbines, each with 8.4 MW capacity, will be the most powerful turbines installed on a floating base at sea, the company said.

“This is an absolutely pioneering and innovative project for renewable offshore energy,” Energias de Portugal CEO Antonio Mexia said in a presentation.

The consortium, which includes Spain’s Repsol, has spent 23 million euros testing the platforms for two years. The tests showed the technology, known as Windfloat, could withstand waves up to 15 metres high.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing 60 million euros of the funding for the new wind farm.

Offshore floating wind farms are an attractive alternative energy source because they open up areas of deep ocean to harness energy, unlike fixed offshore wind turbines that need to be installed in shallower coastal waters.

Norway’s Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, launched the world’s first floating wind farm last year off the Scottish coast with capacity of 30 MW. It has said floating turbines could be used in areas where the sea was up to 800 metres deep.

$1 = 0.8687 euros Reporting by Sergio Goncalves Writing by Axel Bugge Editing by Edmund Blair