The open sea test platform Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) has obtained the permit from the Ministry of the Environment to host floating offshore wind research.
The approval will allow BiMEP to receive up to two prototypes of floating offshore wind turbines at the same time for testing and research, according to Basque energy agency Ente Vasco de la Energía (EVE), the majority owner of the platform.
The tests will be related to the mechanical operation of turbines and improvements in the efficiency of energy production, EVE said, emphasizing that the focus will also be on the environmental component of the studies, which includes the behavior of the devices in the habitat they operate in, mainly in relation to birds.
The investigation of the behavior is expected to provide pioneering measures of environmental protection, such as systems capable of detecting the proximity of birds, and measures intended to scare birds and make them change course, as well as even stop the wind turbine to avoid collisions.
Launched in 2015 by the Basque Government, BiMEP provides a test site in water depths ranging from 50m to 90m located offshore Armintza in Spain.
The area is equipped with a buoy for 24/7 monitoring of weather and wave conditions and four subsea power cables of 5MW and 13kV each, transmitting power and connecting the different devices to the onshore substation which feeds into the grid.
EVE holds a 92% share in BiMEP, while the remaining 8% is owned by the Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE).