RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies have joined forces to explore ways to build and run wind turbines in deep waters in an affordable manner.
In 2021, the RWE subsidiary specializing in renewable energy and the Spanish engineering company Saitec Offshore Technologies will begin testing a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque coast in a joint pilot project named DemoSATH.
SATH technology is based on a twin hull made of concrete components that are modularly prefabricated and then braced. The float will position itself according to the direction of the wind and wave around a single mooring point.
The project’s aim is to collect data and obtain real-life information from the unit’s construction, operation and maintenance. The pilot project will last 3.5 years: 18 months for preparing and constructing the facility, followed by a two-year period of operation.
“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.”Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO RWE Renewables.
“The potentiality of SATH to reduce the cost of floating wind is immense. Now is time to build and operate this floating wind turbine and widen this exciting market”. Collaboration between both companies is seen as highly beneficial, as he explains: “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.”Luis González-Pinto, COO Saitec Offshore.
RWE Renewables will fund part of the cost of the project, and in return gain access to the resulting findings. The focus is on the platform’s performance and load behavior under all possible conditions. The partners are also involved in operating expertise, which is important for designing future commercial wind farms.
Secure and effective approaches for vessel accessibility to the platform and the removal of large components are amongst the issues to be tested. In addition to SATH, RWE is exploring other technical solutions for floating offshore to be able to flexibly adapt offshore wind farms worldwide to local conditions.
Saitec Offshore Technologies provides the design and project management for the DemoSATH project over the entire construction lifecycle. During the testing the company also handles the operation, maintenance and data treatment. Saitec Offshore Technologies is thus able to identify opportunities for development and optimization in all phases.
The structure and the 2 MW wind turbine will be built at Bilbao harbor for the large prototype. The structural base will be about 30 meters wide and about 64 meters tall. In a test area (BIMEP) 2 miles off the coast the platform including the turbine is towed to its anchorage point. At this point the sea is around 85 meters deep.
The floating body is held in place by hybrid mooring lines made of chains and fiber, fixed to the seabed. The plant is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2021. The electricity generated during the project will be fed into the Spanish electricity grid.