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Acciona shows commitment to floating turbines

SPAIN: Acciona Windpower has confirmed it still plans to install two further floating wind turbine prototypes in addition to the one it announced last week.

A model of Acciona's floating platform for the Bay of Biscay trial
A model of Acciona's floating platform for the Bay of Biscay trial

Earlier this month, Acciona announced plan to install a floating wind turbine prototype — Spain's first — in the Bay of Biscay 2013. 

In a sign of its committment to develop a floating wind turbine platform, Accciona said this will not affect its commitment to installing two further floating models — 1.5MW and 3MW — at the so called Zèfir Offshore Test Centre in Catalonian waters.

The Spanish turbine manufacturer's assurances to Windpower Monthly come after domestic competitor Gamesa froze plans to install its first offshore prototype in Virginia, USA — a 5MW machine with fixed seabed foundations — in favour of a quayside site in Spain's Canary Islands.

Nevertheless, like Acciona, Gamesa also maintains its other offshore plans in Spain. Each company signed contracts last year with Zèfir's semi public developer, the Catalonian Research Institute (IREC), to install two floating machines in the test centre's second phase sometime after 2013, additional to prototypes with fixed seabed foundations planned for end-2012. Additionally, Alstom Wind plans to float its next generation Haliade 6MW turbine.

Acciona's staying power is aided by subsidies. The €19.8 million Biscay project, called HiPRWind, is backed not only by 18 other European companies but also €11 million EU funding. Similarly, Zefir's floating phase, which IREC hopes to start building before end-2014, was shortlisted in March for a €30 million grant through the EU's NER300 programme.

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