Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Launched in Spain for Pilot Project
A project designed to support the development and commercialization of floating offshore wind farms located in deep waters marked a key milestone with the completion and launch of its floating wind turbine. The unit is due to be installed by the end of this summer in a test field that is two miles off the Spanish coast with a sea depth of nearly 280 feet.
The project began nearly two years ago, with Saitec Offshore Technologies and RWE Renewables entering into the partnership to develop the DemoSATH. The 2MW turbine uses the SATH design with a pre-fabrication of concrete components and a single-point-of-mooring system that allows the structure to yaw around its mooring and passively align itself to the wave and current direction.
The prestressed concrete platform was constructed and assembled, and equipped with a 2 MW turbine in Spain before the launching at the Punta Sollana quay in the Port of Bilbao. The DemoSATH unit, which has a rotor diameter of approximately 315 feet, was loaded onto the semisubmersible barge’s deck using self-propelled modular transporters. The barge was then ballasted down lower into the water until the DemoSATH unit became buoyant, after which it was towed off. According to the companies, it took less than 45 minutes to safely berth the DemoSATH wind turbine at the quay.
DemoSATH in berthed in Bilboa, Spain before being towed to the test site later this summer
“This is a great step forward for the DemoSATH project. The load-out and float-off operations were an important milestone to fulfill as they were the first of their kind executed for the SATH floating offshore wind turbine,” said Araceli Martínez, Chief of Engineering for Saitec Offshore Technologies. “The demonstrator is ready to become the first floating wind turbine to be commissioned to the mainland Spanish grid during the next months.”
The project is expected to move forward at a fast pace for its installation later this summer. During the next months, the submarine dynamic cable will be deployed at the installation site and the floater will be towed out to be connected to it, as well as to the mooring lines that were previously installed in late April.
According to RWE, the project holds the potential to unlock the potential of floating wind globally, especially in countries with deeper coastal waters, like the U.S., France, UK, Norway, and Spain. The DemoSATH project will enable the company to gain early experience for future developments. Its innovative concrete-based platform is seen as a key development that once proven can help to expand the potential for deep-water offshore wind farms.
DemoSATH positioned on the dock before the floating operation