Energy major Equinor is planning to invest around €860M to build a floating offshore windfarm in the Canary Islands
Energy major Equinor is planning to invest around €860M (US$968M) to build a floating offshore windfarm in the Canary Islands and has secured a permit to do so.
Canary Islands Minister of Economy, Industry & Trade Pedro Ortega described the plan as an important step in the direction of a new, sustainable energy policy for the islands.
Equinor, developer of the highly successful Hywind Scotland floating windfarm, is planning to build a 200-MW floating power plant but is not the only company interested in pursuing floating wind projects there. The permit is understood to have been granted for a floating windfarm in the Canaries Special Zone.
The authorities in the Canary Islands are keen to develop clean energy as the islands currently rely on imported oil for more than 98% of primary energy and 92% of electrical power generation.
Offshore wind is seen as having significant potential in the Canary Islands – and other islands – and as having a significantly higher capacity factor than onshore wind. Onshore wind in the Canary Islands is also challenged by a lack of available space, air safety restrictions and environmental issues.
As previously highlighted by OWJ, Equinor was one of the companies that participated in the Second Clean Energy for Islands Forum in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. The company’s business development project manager Anne Marit Glette Hansen highlighted the role Equinor believes floating offshore wind could have providing islands with green power.
Ms Hansen said islands could provide ‘competitive markets’ for floating wind by 2025 and highlighted that the Canary Islands have expressed serious interest in offshore wind. “Equinor see this as an interesting opportunity for floating wind development,” she said.
“Floating wind is ready to be deployed on islands now,” she told delegates, noting that because the cost of conventional energy on islands is high, floating wind – which is currently more expensive than bottom-fixed offshore wind because it has yet to be commercialised on a large scale – “was already competitive.”
She said Equinor had already undertaken a project with University of Las Palmas Gran Canaria that demonstrated offshore wind on the Canary Islands would create significant long-term employment.
Interest has also been expressed in using floating wind to provide power for US territories, and other islands in Europe. There are more than 2,200 inhabited islands in the European Union alone. Most still depend on expensive fossil fuel imports. Recognising this, and as part of the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package, the EU’s Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative aims to provides a long-term framework to help islands generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy. Offshore wind is one potential solution being explored.