The first floating offshore wind installation in Spain, DemoSATH, is now connected to the country’s grid. The test facility will be capable of meeting the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 households.
Developed by Spanish engineering firm Saitec Offshore Technologies, Germany’s RWE Offshore Wind, and the Kansai Electric Power Co Inc of Japan, the project becomes the fifth European floating wind facility with a turbine of more than 1 MW installed in open sea. It is also the third concrete-based installation to reach this stage of development.
DemoSATH was installed three kilometres off the Basque coast in the BiMEP testing area at Armintza in August. Since then, the connection of the existing static seabed cable to the motion-absorbing dynamic cable has been completed, enabling the transmission of electricity to the national grid via the BiMEP substation.
The commissioning marks the beginning of a two-year operational period to collect data and monitor the performance of the ‘swinging around twin hull’ (SATH) technology, developed by Saitec. The interaction between the facility and its surrounding environment will be carefully assessed during the trials.
Special tools for the identification of birds and bats have been installed as well as systems for tracking the marine environment locally with respect to wildlife including crustaceans, other invertebrates, fish, and cetaceans, the partners said. The project will also assess the performance of systems, specially developed for SATH technology, to support marine biodiversity and enhance fishing resources in and around floating offshore wind farms.
Speaking on the latest development, Saitec’s chief operations officer, David Carrascosa, said: “The start of energy generation from DemoSATH marks a culmination in the project. We are proud of the work accomplished and of being the pioneers in Spain in providing renewable energy with a floating wind turbine. This will be our testing ground to gain knowledge based on real-world experience and apply it in future larger-scale projects.”
Sven Utermöhlen, RWE CEO, said that the DemoSATH project is another milestone in unlocking the great potential of floating wind globally, especially in countries with deeper coastal waters such as the United States, France, UK, Norway, and Spain.
“Our ambition is to be a market-leading floating wind player who safely develops, builds, and operates cost-competitive commercial-scale floating wind projects around the world,” he declared. “Jointly with our other demonstration project, DemoSATH enables us to gain early experience for our future commercial-scale developments. Its unique concrete-based platform and single point mooring design further broadens our knowledge on innovative floating wind concepts.”
Executive director of Kansai Electric Power’s Renewable Energy Division, Kazumi Ogura, commented: “It is a great honour to reach this significant milestone as a member of the pioneering project. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the local community and numerous stakeholders for their cooperation and understanding. We are looking forward to applying the lessons learned from this project towards the advancement of a zero-carbon society.”