Spanish floating wind pioneer Saitec’s plans to develop a 10MW version of its innovative BlueSATH concept have moved ahead with confirmation that a “medium-scale” prototype will be installed in the Cantabrian Sea early next year for trials.

The 2MW 1:6 demonstrator, based on a design using joined cylindrical pre-stressed concrete hulls anchored to the seabed via a single-point mooring system that allows the unit to ‘weathervane’ to face the wind, will undergo a 12-month testing programme version in the waters off Santander, Spain.

“BlueSATH Project means an important stepping stone to the ultimate goal of providing a bankable solution for the upcoming commercial floating wind farms,“ Saitec CTO David Carrascosa told Recharge.

"The main objectives of BlueSATH project cover SATH platform validation of its response and dynamic behavior. The aim is to obtain models that allow for structural optimisation, enabling cost reduction and validating structural turbine integrity.

“Additionally, the variables which better predict damage on different structure elements would be identified so the structural life-cycle can be appropriately forecasted through a series of sensors.

“The demonstrator’s logistic and transport challenges and risks would be monitored in the course of its transport from manufacturing/assembly setting to its final operation location.”

Collected results will be fed back to real-scale model of the 2MW version of the floater, to be installed on the Basque Marine Energy Platform in 2021.

“BlueSATH will promote the development of renewable energy, contributing to achieve the global sustainability objectives through the use of wind at greater depths to generate energy,” said Saitec.

“In this way, offshore wind is positioned as one of the most dynamic and with higher potential sources at the present.”

Analysts range widely in their 2030 forecasts for floating wind, with estimates spread from as little as 6GW up to almost 19GW, all influenced by how quickly levelised cost of energy numbers can be brought down to below €50/MWh ($55/MWh) – perceived as the benchmark for competitiveness with conventional offshore wind.