An offshore wind farm demonstration project proposed in Oregon is one of three nationwide that will each receive up to $47 million in grants during the next four years from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Seattle-based Principle Power, Inc. received $4 million in Department of Energy funding for the project in 2012, and got the go ahead from the Department of Interior in February to develop its plans to deploy five floating wind turbines in federal waters 18 miles off of Coos Bay by 2017. The 30 megawatt project would be the West Coast’s first offshore wind farm, and would be connected to the mainland through underwater electrical cables.
Several offshore wind farms are under construction on the Atlantic Coast, though those turbines are anchored to the sea floor. West Coast waters are deeper, so the technology needs are considerably different.
Principle Power plans to install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines atop its WindFloat semi submersible floating foundation, designed to simplify installation and eliminate the need for highly specialized ships. Principle installed a prototype of its floating turbine platform off the coast of Portugal in 2012.