Iberdrola enters floating wind with project duo

Iberdrola is making its first forays into floating offshore wind by leading a consortium developing a single-turbine project off Norway and exploring the possibility of a second site in Spain.

The turbine will be installed on Norwegian marine engineers Olav Olsen’s OO-Star Wind Floater (above)
The turbine will be installed on Norwegian marine engineers Olav Olsen’s OO-Star Wind Floater (above)

The Spanish developer is also considering adding floating turbines to its existing fixed-bottom offshore sites and is investigating the potential large-scale floating projects off the US and Scotland.

It hopes to become a “leading player” in the floating offshore wind sector, Iberdrola’s global managing director for offshore wind Jonathan Cole explained.

“The demonstration projects that we are developing will ensure we are ready for engaging in large-scale commercial floating wind projects in the near future,” he added.

Iberdrola will lead an international consortium of Spanish, Norwegian, French, Danish and German companies in the 'Flagship' project, through which a 10MW-plus turbine will be installed on a semi-submersible concrete structure.

The turbine will be installed on Norwegian marine engineers Olav Olsen’s OO-Star Wind Floater and tested at the Met Centre in Norway's North Sea with a planned installation date of Q1 2022.

The consortium hopes to reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for floating offshore wind to €40-60/MWh by leveraging economies of scale, competitive supply chains and a “variety of innovations”, the group stated.

It will be funded as part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation scheme.

Having cleared the evaluation phase, the consortium is now looking to secure a €25 million grant in the second half of 2020.

Iberdrola added that production of the floating platform could start in Q2 2021, ahead of installation in Q1 2022.

It is currently in talks with manufacturers about which turbine will be used, an Iberdrola spokesman confirmed.

Iberdrola has previously been involved in research and development projects for floating offshore wind, but the 'Flagship' project will be the first time the developer has installed a floating wind turbine.

Spanish plans

In Spain, Iberdrola aims to use different technology to that planned in Norway, and is deciding between sites off the Canary Islands or the northern Basque region.

Specific details of the project will be published later this year.

Spanish waters are generally too deep for traditional fixed foundations, so floating technology would be needed for offshore wind development in Spain.

“There is tremendous potential globally for floating technology, as it will open up new markets where water conditions restrict the development of traditional offshore projects," Cole added.

“We are not tied to any one technology, and we have had a team actively analysing all developments in the sector for many years. 

“Now is the right time to move from research and development into putting turbines in the water and increasing our knowledge.”  

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