Spain Receives First Floating Offshore Wind Power
The DemoSATH floating offshore wind project has started generating electricity and feeding it to Spain’s national grid, introducing this type of renewable generation technology to Spain’s energy mix for the first time.
Led by the Spanish engineering firm Saitec Offshore Technologies, in collaboration with the German energy company RWE Offshore Wind and the Japanese company Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO), DemoSATH was installed offshore at the BiMEP testing area at Armintza in the Basque Country in August.
Subsequently, the connection of the existing static seabed cable to the motion-absorbing dynamic cable, and the link to the platform’s bow turret was successfully completed. This achievement has enabled the transmission of the generated electricity into the electrical grid through the BiMEP substation, converting the force of the wind into clean renewable energy.
The DemoSATH platform, located two miles off the Basque coast, features a turbine capable of generating up to 2 MW of renewable energy. Its annual production is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of approximately 2,000 Spanish households, the developers said.
The commissioning is said to mark the beginning of a two-year operational period to gather data about the behavior of the SATH technology, developed by Saitec Offshore Technologies, and the monitoring of the systems installed on the platform to understand its interaction with the surrounding ecosystem.
Specialized tools for the identification of birds and bats have been installed, as well as systems for monitoring marine ecosystem biodiversity within the local environment. These monitoring activities are expected to provide insights into the behavior of groups and species around the floating offshore turbine. Additionally, the project will involve the evaluation of environmentally friendly solutions, custom-designed for SATH, which are aimed at supporting marine biodiversity and enhance fishing resources in floating offshore wind farms.
David Carrascosa, Chief Operations Officer at Saitec Offshore Technologies, said: “The start of energy generation from DemoSATH marks a culmination in the project. We are proud of the work accomplished and of being the pioneers in Spain in providing renewable energy with a floating wind turbine. This will be our testing ground to gain knowledge based on real-world experience and apply it in future larger-scale projects.”
Apart from becoming Spain’s first floating offshore wind turbine to connect to the electrical grid, DemoSATH is the fifth European floating technology with a turbine of over 1 MW installed in the open sea, and the third concrete-based technology to reach this level of development, the developers said.
”We are glad to see that DemoSATH has been successfully commissioned,” Sven Utermöhlen, CEO RWE Offshore Wind, said.
”For us at RWE it is also another milestone on our way to unlock the great potential of floating wind globally, especially in countries with deeper coastal waters, like the US, France, UK, Norway and – certainly – Spain. Our ambition is to be a market leading floating wind player who safely develops, builds, and operates cost-competitive, commercial-scale floating wind projects around the world. Jointly with our other demonstration project, DemoSATH enables us to gain early experience for our future commercial-scale developments. Its unique concrete-based platform and single point mooring design further broadens our knowledge on innovative floating wind concepts.”
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The success of the project is said to be due to the combined capabilities of the partners; Saitec Offshore Technologies, as the designer of the SATH technology and project developers; RWE Offshore Wind contributing its expertise in the floating offshore wind sector; and KEPCO with its experience in the field of energy.
Kazumi Ogura, Executive Director of the Renewable Energy Division at KEPCO, said: ”It is a great honor to reach this significant milestone as a member of the pioneering project. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the local community and numerous stakeholders for their cooperation and understanding. We are looking forward to applying the lessons learned from this project towards the advancement of a zero-carbon society.”
In addition to this, the contributions of the supply chain companies and the institutional support received from the Spanish Government through The Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE) and The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), as well as from the Basque Government through The Basque Business Development Agency (SPRI), BEAZ, and the Basque Energy Agency (EVE), have played a crucial role, the developers said.
Spain has recently approved a roadmap for the development of offshore wind which calls for the development of 3 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2030.
The country plans to carry out its first offshore wind auction, in the Canary region, in 2023.
Currently, Spain has 7 MW of operating offshore wind capacity.
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