X1 Wind has announced that its X30 floating wind prototype, installed in the Canary Islands, successfully produced its first kWh.
The milestone marks the world’s only floating wind platform currently installed with a TLP mooring system, which dramatically reduces the environmental footprint and improves compatibility with other sea uses.
It further heralds Spain’s first floating wind prototype to export electricity via a subsea cable.
‘First power’ was fed into PLOCAN’s offshore platform smart grid via a 1.4km underwater cable connected to a 20kV transformer. Local teams will now enter the last phase of a rigorous test and verification programme which started with the platform installation in November 2022, in preparation for the technology industrialization and certification for commercial scale projects currently under development.
X1 Wind CTO and co-founder Carlos Casanovas said: “First power represents a huge milestone for X1 Wind, and the ‘lift-off’ moment we’ve been building towards for many years. The first kWh is always a symbolic moment for any new energy generation project, and for our team, partners, and supporters, it crystalises the immense journey we’ve been on and the exciting path which lies ahead.
“Floating wind is set to play a vital role in supporting the future energy transition, global decarbonisation and ambitious net-zero targets. Today’s announcement marks another significant stride forward for X1 Wind accelerating towards certification and commercial scale ambitions to deliver 15MW platforms and beyond in deepwater sites around the globe.”
The X30 platform is equipped with a specially adapted V29 Vestas turbine and ABB power converter. Another key design feature, developed through the EU-backed PivotBuoy Project, combines the advantages of SPM and TLP mooring systems. The proprietary SPM design enables the floater to ‘weathervane’ passively and maximise energy yields, with an electrical swivel ensuring electricity transfer without cable twisting.
The TLP mooring system also dramatically reduces the seabed footprint, compared to traditional designs proposing catenary mooring lines, minimising environmental impact while maximising compatibility with other sea uses, in addition to its suitability to move into deeper waters (read more).
X1 Wind’s Electrical Engineering Manager Adrian Oliva said: “Our first kWh follows a particularly intense period of activity after the dynamic cable lay, platform load-out, and installation. Once installed we carried out the first round of testing without power, to validate the hydrodynamic behaviour of the platform and survivability in severe storm conditions.
“Now generating power, we’ve commenced a second phase to assess the floater behaviour during operation. This all-forms part of X1 Wind’s extensive testing verification programme to fully validate the platform in real-world operational conditions and de-risk our technology.”
The milestone was achieved due to close cooperation with world-leading suppliers as well as PivotBuoy project partners, who have played a key role in the success of this project and to whom X1 Wind thanks for their support.
ABB Project Engineer Ramon Macia said: “We are proud to have been able to contribute to this ambitious project with the X1 Wind team. From ABB we provide experience in regenerative frequency converters, combined with an integrated control system developed for Vestas V25, V27 and V29 turbines, installed on land and operating upwind.
“In this project, we adapted the control for operation on an offshore x30 platform operating in downwind, obtaining excellent results, and highlighting the stability of the platform-turbine unit operating at sea.”
The PivotBuoy Project officially comes to a close on 31 March 2023, but X1 Wind has requested an extension of the testing period until May before decommissioning the prototype as foreseen in the EU-funded project.