Iberdrola pledges to continue 'star R&D project'

SPAIN: Iberdrola has categorically put paid to any notion that it is abandoning its commitment to floating wind turbines, insisting it is “putting everything we can” into developing floating technology.

The denial follows the company’s decision to drop plans to install floating turbines at its 400MW Wikinger project in German Baltic waters.

WIkinger originally had planning permission to for floating turbine platforms when Iberdrola acquired the project from German developer Ventotec in March last year.

The decision has called into question Iberdrola’s involvement in the €8 million Emerge floating platform project the company is working on with Alstom and Acciona. However, Iberdrola insists Emerge remains its "star R&D project".

In a statement to Windpower Monthly, Iberdrola said: "Development at Wikinger began very early on, back in 2000, when offshore wind was being developed in maximum depths of 10-15 metres."

It said fixed foundation designs and installation techniques have advanced making them viable in the 40-metre depths that characterise both the Wikinger site and "a large proportion of the offshore projects" planned for 2015 onwards.

In contrast, floating platform viability still requires costs to be reduced and improvements in turbine compatibility with platform motion, said Iberdrola.

It added the prototype, which is developing in conjunction with turbine manufacturers and wind developers Alstom and Acciona, will be produced in 2012. "[Iberdrola] is possibly the most committed company to floating technology worldwide."

Spain and other countries with very deep seas close to shore are the main target markets for floating technology.

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