Spanish wind power drives offshore technology as a competitive and strategic alternative

Juan Virgilio Márquez, CEO of AEE, said at the opening of the day that “offshore wind energy is one of the best alternatives to continue with the sustainable growth of renewable energies in Europe and thus meet the objectives of decarbonization marked for 2030 and 2050 ”.

The presence of the Spanish industry in offshore wind is indisputable, having positioned itself as one of the main centers of knowledge and production in the international market.
The sector proposes to include in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) specific objectives of offshore wind in 2030 according to the current potential of the technology.

The current situation of the marine wind energy market and the position of the Spanish industry, as well as the need to advance in the possible lines of research, and in collaboration with other countries for the development of joint projects , have been some of the topics that have been analyzed in the day “Marine wind: Spearhead of technological development”, which REOLTEC – technological platform of the wind sector – and the Wind Business Association (PREPA) have celebrated today with the collaboration of Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI).

In Europe, during 2018, 2.65 GW offshore wind farms were installed, so the total installed capacity of this technology amounted to 19 GW. These figures confirm a reality that has been possible thanks to a combination of factors:

– The firm commitment of a group of countries in the development of offshore wind, with the establishment of appropriate regulatory mechanisms that give certainty to investments, risk management schemes and remuneration security.
– The commitment of technologists to develop offshore solutions, which responds to the demands of the marine environment and that in the shortest possible period of time allows promoters to implement marine parks at competitive prices.

In Spain, it is necessary to update our regulation regarding the ecological marine. At present, various circumstances converge that will allow the execution of projects (PNIEC, technological position, local manufacturers and international activity) for which an update of the regulation is required, set specific objectives and establish an appropriate administrative transmission in coordination between the different agents.

As a technological solution, the use of floating solutions for offshore wind is becoming increasingly important, the implementation of wind farms in areas of great depth (more than 60 meters). Floating wind multiplies the energy potential of this form of energy several times, since it obtains a better use of the wind resource and much faster capacity factors. The cost of floating offshore wind is being progressively reduced to the point that it is established that offshore wind will reach land wind in the coming years in terms of new installed power. In this context, “the ecological navy stands as one of the best alternatives to continue with the growth of renewable energies in Europe and thus be able to meet the decarbonization objectives set for 2030 and 2050,” said Juan Virgilio Márquez, director General of PREPA, at the opening of the day.

In Spain, offshore wind energy has so far had little development. With the development of floating solutions the need to exploit the great potential of wind production that exists in Spain in deep water is evident. In addition to being a benchmark in offshore wind, Spain has a very powerful naval and civil engineering industry, with which to underpin the development of this technology. The search for industrial and technological synergies (shipyard, steel or manufacturing industry) is one of the keys to making possible a powerful, consolidated sector with a specific weight in the market, with a tractor mentality, with diversified efforts and with companies of diverse nature. , which could have a presence in an entire value chain, in our case of offshore wind power. “The presence of the Spanish industry in offshore wind is indisputable having already positioned itself as one of the main centers of knowledge and production in the international market,” said Juan Virgilio Márquez.

Some of the initiatives proposed by the Spanish Wind Energy Association that can help achieve a significant advance in the offshore field are:

– Design an ad-hoc remuneration framework for the implementation of floating offshore parks based on the cost avoided
– Include in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) specific objectives of offshore wind by 2030, in line with the current potential of the technology
– Establish a specific auction calendar for offshore wind projects throughout Spain, segmented by specific geographical areas
– Use the Canary Islands as a tractor for the deployment of offshore wind, based on the cost avoided for the electrical system and for the General State Budget
– Combine instruments to support R&D together with competitive mechanisms to implement new power
– Provide the Administration with the necessary resources to fulfill the functions and responsibilities assigned in the current regulation (RD 1028/2007), and expedite the processing of wind farms
– Adapt the regulation in force in those aspects that prevent its application and / or have become obsolete; and include the current characteristics of offshore wind in the process of preparing Marine Space Management Plans (POEM), which will increase the viability of projects at a greater distance from the coast and the number of available locations, etc.

Currently, the Spanish industry is very well positioned for the manufacture and export of offshore wind components, such as fixed anchor structures, floating platforms or mooring systems. In Spain there are several development hubs of this technology that are developing prototype test platforms, in the north of Spain and the Canary Islands mainly, in which national companies are developing their experimental prototypes and technological R + D + i projects in order to position itself in the market.

In Spain there are important marine-maritime research centers, unique marine wind projects and leading research groups, as well as several testing centers for the generation of sea energy technologies of the highest level and supported by the Administration. Proof of this are the test platforms in our territory and the multiple experimental floating prototypes under development by Spanish companies, which will contribute to further reduce the cost of this technology.

Offshore wind will continue to grow progressively in the world, and to realize this enormous potential in the most efficient way it will be necessary for the European wind industry, including the Spanish one, to continue being able to invest in R & D & I, count on a autochthonous market with visibility of the volumes to be installed in the long term (awarded through auctions) and a good stable and predictable regulatory framework. In addition, without offshore wind, it is not foreseeable that the EU can meet the double challenge of reducing its energy dependence and fulfilling its commitment to virtually eliminate CO2 emissions from energy sources by 2050.

In the day, organized by REOLTEC and AEE, representatives of the main companies and institutional organizations related to the development and research of marine wind in Spain, such as the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) of the Ministry of Science , Innovation and Universities, the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands, the Deputy Ministry of Climate Change Control of the Canary Islands Government, the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (IDAE), Port Authority of Santander, IHCantabria, EnerOcean, Nautilus, Saitec Offshore Technologies, Esteyco and X1Wind.

The Wind Business Association (AEE) is the voice of the wind sector in Spain and defends its interests. With nearly 200 associated companies, it represents more than 90% of the sector in the country, which includes developers, manufacturers of wind turbines and components, national and regional associations, organizations linked to the sector, consultants, lawyers and financial and insurance entities, among others.

REOLTEC is the technological platform of the wind sector managed by AEE. Its objective is the coordination and promotion of R & D & I activities within the sector, and offshore wind is one of the areas of greatest technological challenges and with an interesting perspective of global growth.