The turbine uses a self-floating gravity-based structure and a self-lifting telescopic tower, both made of concrete, which can be fully assembled onshore and conventionally towed to the site.
The prototype uses a Siemens-Gamesa 5 MW turbine and the tower consists of three sections.
The technology is the centrepiece of a project called H2020 ELICAN led by Spanish engineering firm Esteyco. The project is 70 per cent funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 renewables programme and was set up to deliver the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine completely installed with full independence of costly heavylift vessels.
All of the turbine’s components were assembled onshore and the turbine was towed into its offshore position by tugs – making it a more efficient and economic method.
UK lifting company ALE was responsible for lifting the sections of the turbine. It controlled all the equipment used for the offshore manoeuvres via wi-fi from a vessel it specially developed.
Cecilio Barahona, project engineer for ALE’s Spanish branch, said: “It is fantastic to be involved in such a unique and complex project. We have developed specific solutions for all the challenges resulting from the project and reduced risk thanks to our engineering designs.”
The turbine is expected to start generating electricity later this year.