Wind power: European funds for innovative offshore wind turbines

An innovative wind energy project for a floating platform for offshore wind farm plants was admitted among projects eligible for the European NER300 funding, a special mechanism specifically designed by the European Commission to promote the development of new renewable technologies and carbon capture and storage systems.

The NER300 (New entrants Reserve) initiative grants 300 million CO2 emissions allowances for the funding of particularly promising projects, selected (based on a call for tenders) among projects identified by EU member states.

The wind power project at issue consists of a hexagonal floating platform designed by Sweden-based Hexicon, which can accommodate up to 7 large wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 40 MW for each platform.

The new project is expected to have several advantages. Indeed, it can reduce offshore installation costs compared to the installation of an equal number of single wind turbines; it simplifies maintenance tasks when the sea is rough; it can be installed in deep water, thus exploiting marine areas where conventional turbines (which require a depth of up to 60-70 metres) cannot be installed.

Sweden, Malta and Cyprus supported the new technology and studied its technological feasibility by means of assessments performed by panels of independent experts and by the national regulatory authorities (the Swedish Energy Agency, the Malta Resources Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Cyprus).

It must be noted that support from Malta and Cyprus could mean that these two countries are interested in future offshore installations also in the Mediterranean.