Spain’s first floating wind turbine array could be flowing power to the grid as early 2025, following technology developer Saitec’s launch of a five-unit ‘pre-commercial’ project in the Mediterranean Sea.
The 50MW Medfloat, to be moored in waters of 140-180 metres off Cap de Creus on the Costa Brava coast, will the built around the Leioa-based start-up’s so-called SATH platform, an innovative concrete concept that ‘weathervanes’ to operate in line with the wind stream to improve a turbine’s energy capture.
“Medfloat has started with the presentation of the initial project document for assessment by the competent environmental body, which will answer with information on the scope that the environmental impact study should have,” said Saitec, in a statement. “However, [we are] already carrying out drafting work on the environmental impact study.”
Construction of Medfloat – which overlaps with Saitec’s prototype project, the 2MW DemoSATH being developed with RWE and due for installation at the BiMEP R&D site in the Bay of Biscay – will also include building a range of test infrastructure for demonstration and validation of floating wind technology.
Saitec said Medfloat, which will produce enough power for 50,000 homes, would have a wider benefit to the industry as “a pioneering project to investigate the possibilities of shared use with other activities, especially with fishing and aquaculture, as well as the promotion of employment and boost the supply chain of offshore wind energy in Catalonia”.
The company made headlines in 2020 when its part-scale prototype capsized in a superstorm after successfully completing tests off Cantabria.
Saitec is one of new generation of floating wind technology developers that includes X1Wind, testing a part-scale version of its PivotBuoy with partner Technip Energies off the Canary Islands this summer, and EnerOcean, which trialled its W2Power concept in 2019 off the Spanish-owned islands and recently saw buy-in from Italian oil & gas giant Eni.
DNV forecasts floating wind projects to make up over 15% of the total offshore wind deployment in the pipeline for switch-on by mid-century worldwide, some 264GW of the total 1,748GW foreseen installed.