Friday, February 21, 2014

Top Story

Seattle company to launch first offshore wind farm on U.S. Pacific Coast

Seattle company Principle Power just received approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior to seek a lease for 15 square miles of federal waters off Coos Bay, Oregon, for the country's first offshore wind farm off the Pacific Coast.

Principle's $200 million WindFloat project would install the first offshore turbines in federal waters on the West Coast and would be the first in the country to use triangular floating platforms instead of single piles driven into the ocean floor.

That unique design addresses probably the biggest reason why wind parks have yet to hit the Pacific — a steep drop in the continental shelf that makes the waters too deep to secure fixed-bottom turbines in a cost effective way. Going offshore also removes concerns about noise, aesthetics and harming wildlife.

The WindFloat platforms would float in waters about a quarter mile deep, attached to pre-laid moorings. The entire structures, from water surface to the end of the turbine blade, would rise about 600 feet.

Five 6-megawatt turbines and platforms would be assembled on Coos Bay harbor and towed by tugboats approximately 17 miles out. They would be spaced about a mile apart and should begin generating a combined 30 megawatts of power by late 2017. That's enough to power 8,000 typical homes.

Ultimately, Principle hopes to deploy its platforms in Europe and in the Pacific along the West Coast, Hawaii and Japan.

For more of the Seattle Times story:

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