RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies have joined forces to test new ways to affordably install and operate offshore windfarms in deepwater
In a joint pilot project called DemoSATH, an RWE subsidiary specialising in renewable energy and the Spanish engineering company will test a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque coast of Spain.
RWE said it also plans to test other technical solutions for floating wind, in addition to SATH.
The SATH (swinging around twin hull) technology is based on a twin hull structure constructed of modularly prefabricated and braced concrete elements. The floater can align itself around a single point mooring, according to the wind and wave direction.
The objective of the project is to collect data and gain real-life experience in the construction, operation and maintenance of the unit. The pilot project will last 3.5 years, including 18 months for planning and construction and a two-year operating phase.
RWE Renewables chief executive Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath said, “We see great potential for floating windfarms worldwide. Especially in countries with deeper coastal waters, this opens up attractive opportunities. With DemoSATH, we will gain experience with an innovative concrete-based platform that will help us to position ourselves in this growth market.”
Saitec Offshore chief operating officer Luis González-Pinto said, “The potential of the SATH to reduce the cost of floating wind is huge. Now is the time to build and operate this floating wind turbine and widen this exciting market. 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.”
RWE Renewables will part-finance the project and gain access to the results. It said the focus is on the performance and on load behaviour of the platform under all possible conditions.
In addition, the partners are interested in generating operational experience, which is essential for the planning of commercial floating windfarms. The companies also want to test safe and efficient solutions for access to the platform and concepts for replacing large components.
DemoSATH will be Saitec’s second project in open water. In April 2020 the deployment of a scaled 1:6 model off the coast of Santander is due to take place.
The structure for the 2-MW prototype will be assembled at Port of Bilbao. The base of the structure will be approximately 30 m wide and approximately 64 m in length. The platform, including the turbine, will be towed to the test site 3 km off the coast where the water is 85 m deep.
Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fibre, anchored to the seabed will hold the floating structure in position. Electricity generated during the project will be fed into the Spanish grid.
In 2019, Saitec secured EU funds for a 10 MW+ floating wind design. It was awarded nearly €2.0M (US$2.2M) by the European Commission to build a part-scale version of the innovative floater.