RWE in pilot for floating offshore wind platform

In a joint pilot project called ‘DemoSATH’, the RWE subsidiary specialising in renewable energy and the Spanish engineering company Saitec Offshore Technologies will start testing a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque Coast.

SATH technology is based on a twin hull made of modularly prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements. The float can align itself around a single point of mooring according to the wind and wave direction.

The objective of the project is to collect data and gain real-life knowledge from the construction, operation and maintenance of the unit. The focus is on the performance and on the load behaviour of the platform under all possible conditions. In addition, the partners are interested in operational experience, which is essential for the planning of future commercial wind farms.

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The plant is expected to go into operation in the third quarter of 2021. The electricity generated during the project will be fed into the Spanish power grid.

RWE Renewables chief executive Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath said: “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.”

Saitec Offshore’s chief operating officer Luis Gonzàƒ¡lez-Pinto states: “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”.

The prototype

  • The structure and the 2 MW wind turbine will be assembled in the port of Bilbao.
  • The base of the structure will be approximately 30 metres wide and 64 metres long.
  • The platform including the turbine will be towed to its anchorage point in a test field (BIMEP) 2 miles off the coast. The sea is about 85 metres deep at this point.
  • Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fibre, anchored to the seabed will hold the floating body in position.

Among the things to be tested are safe and efficient solutions for vessel accessibility to the platform and for the replacement of large components.

For the DemoSATH project, Saitec Offshore Technologies provides the design and Project Management during the whole lifecycle of the development. The company is also managing the operation, maintenance and data treatment during the testing. This enables Saitec Offshore Technologies to capture improvement and optimisation opportunities throughout all phases.

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