Hiprwind delayed amidst rumours of Acciona pullout

SPAIN: The largest EU-funded offshore wind R&D project, the €20 million Hiprwind 3MW floating demonstrator turbine planned for Spanish waters, is undergoing a partnership reshuffle, with turbine supplier Acciona, believed to be negotiating its withdrawal.

Acciona, yet to produce an offshore turbine and whose wind business has been hit hard by the Spanish government's freeze on renewables, repeatedly declined to respond to Windpower Monthly's questions on Hiprwind.

A spokesman from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute, the project leader, however, confirmed changes to the 18-member Hiprwind consortium were indeed underway, adding details would be confidential until the European Commission "accepts our contract amendments".

Nevertheless, he confirmed "the floater is under manufacture" and he hopes the reshuffle will be complete by end-2013. He expects commissioning, at the deep water site in the Bay of Biscay, to go forward mid-2014, a year beyond initial schedule.

Acciona's other main offshore R&D venture, the 70MW Zèfir project in Tarragona, has been on hold since spring this year, due to lack of EU funding, attributed to the Spanish government's renewables U-turn.