Renewable energy generator RWE Renewables and Spanish engineering company Saitec Offshore Technologies are partnering up to test new ways of installing and operating offshore wind farms in deep waters.
Under the DemoSATH project, the companies will start testing a floating platform for wind turbines off Spain’s Basque coast in 2021.
DemoSATH, which will be Saitec Offshore’s second project in open waters, hosts a 2MW turbine and is scheduled for commissioning next year.
The collaboration comes as Saitec Offshore is preparing to deploy a scaled 1:6 model off the coast of Santander in April this year.
SATH floating technology is based on a twin-hull made of prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements.
The project will run for three-and-a-half years and is aimed at obtaining data and real-life knowledge from the construction, operation and maintenance of the unit.
RWE Renewables CEO Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath said: “We see great potential for floating wind farms worldwide. Especially in countries with deeper coastal waters, this opens up attractive opportunities.
“With DemoSATH, we are gaining experience with an innovative concrete-based platform technology that will help us to position ourselves in this growth market.”
RWE Renewables will finance part of the project costs and contribute to the offshore experience, while Saitec Offshore will provide the design and project management during the whole lifecycle of the development.
During the testing, Saitec Offshore will also manage the operation, maintenance and data treatment to capture improvement and optimisation opportunities throughout all phases.
The project will focus on the performance and the load behaviour of the platform under all possible conditions.
During the pilot project, the companies will test safe and efficient solutions for vessel accessibility to the platform and for the replacement of large components.
Additionally, RWE is testing other technological options for floating offshore to be able to flexibly adapt offers for offshore wind farms worldwide to local conditions.
For the large prototype, the structure and the 2MW wind turbine will be assembled in the port of Bilbao. The structure base will be about 30m wide and 64m long.
The platform and the turbine will be towed to its anchorage point in a test field (BIMEP) located three km off the coast where the sea is about 85m deep.
The plant is expected to become operational in the third quarter of next year. The Spanish power grid will receive the electricity generated during the project.