‘The future of clean energy lies in developing and deploying innovative technology solutions that are flexible enough in design that they can be used in diverse circumstances globally. At Principle Power, we developed our WindFloat technology to solve two common problems: first, bottom-fixed wind turbines built on foundations can only be erected in relatively shallow water and require expensive, specialized heavy lift offshore vessels, and second, their construction can disturb marine ecosystems. WindFloat is a floating structure that is fabricated and fully assembled at quayside and is moored to the seafloor with anchors. This not only allows developers to site wind farms further offshore in deeper water where winds are commonly stronger but also to use commonly available offshore tugs. The use of anchors rather than pilings eliminates much of the footprint of the structure on the seafloor and, subsequently, the ecological impacts. In addition, since WindFloat foundations are constructed onshore and towed to offshore sites, the extra risks and costs often associated with offshore construction are avoided. We believe our technology will enable global offshore wind markets to reach their full potential, supplying renewable energy and creating jobs while minimizing local environmental impacts.
We also know that the ocean is a busy place. Because our technology removes many of the constraints of conventional foundations, conflicts with other ocean users can be minimized. But we recognize that there will always be some difference of opinion about how our ocean spaces are used. That’s why we set out to listen to and learn from local stakeholders when working with developers to identify potential project sites. We’re prepared to, and have, sat down with state and federal agencies, local landowners, fishing communities, environmental groups and others and held detailed conversations. Through these conversations, in one particular project we discovered that the proposed site would have been close to valuable fishing areas and a Rockfish Conservation Area. We relocated the project further offshore at the request of those whose livelihoods are tied to these resources. Our experience illustrates that bringing the multitude of stakeholders to the table to balance various uses and protect ecological resources is an essential part of ocean planning.’