OWPST and Eolica Brasil team up for offshore wind power JV

The new company, Servemar, will also market the Titan 200 in Latin America and the Caribbean. OWPST holds a 49% stake in the venture.

Offshore Wind Power Systems of Texas (OWPST) has formed a joint venture with developer Eolica Brasil to use its proprietary mobile jack-up platform for an ambitious 11.2GW wind energy project planned off Brazil.

The deal will take legal effect from the date of Servemar’s registry in Brazil, which could occur by 1 October, according to Marcello Storrer Prado Garcia, president of Eolica Brasil.

Where applicable, Eolica will exclusively use OWPST’s Y-shaped platform to support proposed 6 MW wind turbines for its Asa Branca project off Brazil’s northeastern Atlantic coastal state of Ceará.

Prado Garcia notes that the developer may have to find alternative foundation designs in several shallow areas closer to shore, where water depths are less than 4.5 metres, versus 8 to 20 metres elsewhere.

Eolica plans to build the project in 22, 480MW phases and a final one of 640MW. It also intends to use the Titan for as many as four meteorological towers in the first phase and to carry out soil borings. Prado Garcia says the first 30MW, which he calls a pilot project, could be in the water by early 2015.

OWPST chief executive Douglas Hines says serial production of Titan hulls and legs will likely be done in China given the cost advantage over Brazil. A specialised vessel would transport 25 units at a time to a shipyard near the project for turbine installation and final assembly.

Once the jack-up platform is assembled, and the met mast or turbine is placed on the hull and tested, the completed unit is floated to location and put into service. The Titan is self-installing, requiring only a tug for towing it and a work boat to bring installation aids such as jacks to the shore base, according to OWPST. This eliminates expensive derrick barges or other special purpose equipment.

Hines says once installed, the units can be later moved to another site. If the wind turbine requires major repairs, the platform legs may be raised and it can be towed back to a dock or repair yard. After the necessary repairs are made, the platform can be returned to its previous location.

Prado Garcia says Eolica is “seriously considering” the use of Titans for wind-powered desalination, noting that Ceará is one of the driest and poorest parts of Brazil.