The president of Acciona Energy, Carmen Becerril, and the CEO of Navantia, Luis Cacho, signed a co-operation agreement in the field of offshore wind power. Both companies are committed to developing projects and industrial and technological activities with different institutions aiming to contribute to the launching of an offshore wind turbines industry with great growth potential, technological development and job creation capacity. The event took place at the premises of the Navantia shipyard in Puerto Real (Cadiz, Spain).
Both parties have agreed to co-operate in joint technological or offshore business development projects in different areas along the value chain. These include the development of fixed and floating foundations for the installation of wind turbines, electrical substations, meteorological towers, vessels and platforms for installing foundations and/or wind turbines, as well as for maintaining and disassembling facilities. Joint efforts will also include logistics surveys and capacity analyses of Spanish ports and Navantia’s own facilities to serve the offshore wind industry.
The two companies have stressed the need to establish efficient regulatory procedures in Spain that will enable the growth of offshore wind energy and support the continuity of the technological achievements of this country in the development of onshore wind power generation. Spain holds the second place in Europe and the fourth place worldwide in onshore wind energy production and both companies agree that it should seize the opportunities arising from the spectacular growth expected in the coming decades and avoid being displaced from the group of countries that will lead the use of offshore wind to produce electricity.
Navantia: diversification and use of facilities
For Navantia, making inroads in this sector reflects a strategy that seeks to diversify its activities and make efficient use of its industrial facilities in both the Bay of Cadiz and in other shipyards, which are conveniently located for implementing offshore wind farms. These facilities also have a suitable infrastructure for carrying out the assembly, installation, operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
As a naval and marine technologist, Navantia is carrying out key R&D work in projects that are already underway for the design of weather stations, floating structures and ships for the installation and support of offshore wind farms in deep water. The company is already working with Acciona in some activities in this field.
Acciona: Technological solutions for offshore wind farms in Spain
Acciona is a leader in the field of renewable energies, present throughout the value chain -from project development, engineering, construction and wind turbine manufacturing, to the operation of facilities and electricity sales- that owns 220 onshore wind farms (6380 MW) and develops wind farm projects in the offshore wind industry.
In this area, Acciona is currently very active, producing new technological solutions for offshore wind farms and participating in R&D projects with a total budget of close to 100 million euros. The projects mainly focus on the design of structures conceived for great depths, ideal for countries such as Spain, which has a very narrow continental shelf.
Both companies want to leverage the synergies resulting from their respective capabilities, convinced that maintaining Spain’s current leadership in wind power will depend substantially on its presence in the offshore wind industry, with technological solutions in both wind turbines and foundations, engineering and logistics, among other aspects.
The participation of both companies in joint projects will allow them to acquire technological, industrial and management capabilities in deep water offshore wind energy technology.
The offshore wind power sector is currently led by Europe -mainly in the Baltic and North Sea-, where there were 3514 MW in place by late 2010, virtually all of the offshore power implemented globally (3616 MW). This is a small figure compared to the almost 200,000 MW installed onshore worldwide.
However, forecasts point to dramatic growth over the next decade, when offshore wind power is expected to reach the figure of 75,000 MW by 2020. Of these, more than 52,000 MW would be located in Europe and the rest mainly in China (19,600 MW), followed at a considerable distance by the U.S. and Canada (2000 MW between them), according to the specialist consultants BTM Consult ApS.
The 52,000 MW offshore wind farm expected in Europe by 2020 account for almost 23% of all wind power expected to be installed on the mainland (230,000 MW), compared to 4% today. By 2030, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects accumulated offshore wind power in the continent to stand at 150,000 MW and annual investments in the sector to reach 16.5 billion euros, with a cumulative investment during 2020-2030 approaching the 140 billion euro figure.
More than 200,000 offshore jobs in Europe
This outstanding growth in offshore wind power will result in the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in Europe alone. According to EWEA, by 2030, the wind energy sector will directly or indirectly employ more than 377,000 people, of which 57% will be working in offshore wind energy.
Furthermore, the contribution of offshore wind power is essential for the EU to be able to meet its commitments on climate change and renewable energies, which can be summarised in the 20-20-20 target: a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% contribution of renewable sources to end user energy demand and a 20% increase in savings and efficiency by 2020. All of these goals have been ratified by Spain.