Floating Wind Farms Put To Test

A collaboration between RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies has developed a pilot project, called DemoSATH, to test new ways to affordably install and operate floating offshore wind farms in deep waters, reports Energy Global.


The companies will start testing a floating platform for turbines off the Basque Coast from 2021. The SATH technology is based on a twin-hull constructed from modularly prefabricated and braced concrete elements. The float can align itself around a single point of mooring according to wind and wave direction.


The project aims to collect data and gain knowledge from the construction, operation and maintenance of the unit. The pilot project will last three-and-a-half years, with 18 months for the planning and construction, followed by a two-year operating phase.


RWE Renewables, who are financing part of the project costs, will be testing safe and efficient solutions for vessel accessibility to the platform, and for the replacement of larger components as well as other technological options for the floating offshore wind concept.


Saitec Offshore Technologies is providing the design, project management, operation, maintenance and data treatment during the testing.


In April 2020, the joint venture will deploy a one-sixth scaled model off the coast of Santander, Spain, in the Bay of Biscay. A prototype with a 2MW turbine will be assembled later at the port of Bilbao and then towed to its anchorage point in a test field three km off the coast in 85-metre deep water.


The base of the structure will be approximately 30 m wide and 64 m long. The platform including the turbine will be towed to its anchorage point in a test field two miles off the coast. Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fibre, anchored to the seabed will hold the floating body in position.


Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fibre, anchored to the seabed will hold the structure in position. The plant is expected to go into operation in the third quarter of 2021, with the electricity generated fed into the Spanish power grid.


RWE Renewables chief executive 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.”


Saitec Offshore have stated that SATH has immense potential to reduce the cost of floating wind.


Chief operating officer Luis Gonzalez-Pinto said: “Now is time to build and operate this floating wind turbine and widen this exciting market. This is an agreement between a well-established player in offshore wind and a young innovative company. We are confident that this combination can provide massive gains for both parties.”


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