U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Deepwater Platform Aims to Harness Offshore Wind and Wave Power

April 6, 2011

Principle Power, Inc. of Seattle is using $1.4 million in funding from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to develop an innovative technology with the potential to generate electricity from the powerful winds and strong waves off our coasts. The company's device, known as the WindFloat, will combine a floating offshore wind turbine platform with wave energy convertors, so the system can simultaneously generate electricity from the wind and the waves.

Unlike offshore wind turbines that need seafloor foundations, Principle Power's existing prototype relies on a floating triangular platform submerged below sea level and anchored to the seabed by cables. The tower that supports the turbine is built on top of one of the columns that form the corners of the triangle. These vertical columns are ballasted to ensure that the turbine remains upright. Existing wind turbine designs can be installed on the platform because the design is so stable. Due to this floating design, the WindFloat could be placed in locations where water depth exceeds 50 meters, out of sight from the shore and where higher wind speeds offer superior electricity generation potential. See the Energy Blog post.