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    2023, a key year for floating offshore wind energy

    January 26, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      On January 24, the Government could approve the Maritime Space Management Plan (POEM), according to Itziar Martín Partida, deputy director general for the Protection of the Sea of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (Miteco) at a conference organized by the Col-legi d'Enginyers Industrials de Catalunya (College of Industrial Engineers of Catalonia). With the approval of this document, which defines where offshore wind farms can be implemented, the 15 offshore wind projects submitted for public consultation on the Spanish coasts (a phase prior to the environmental impact study) would be closed. One of the proposed areas is the Cap de Creus, the Gulf of Roses and the Bay of Pals, where up to six companies have expressed interest in installing offshore wind farms.

      The year 2023 has another piece of good news in store for this renewable energy source, of which there is still not a single commercial kilowatt installed in mainland Spain: as of January 31, it will be possible to start applying for specific aid for its implementation. In total, Miteco's Renmarinas Demos Program will allocate 240 million euros to research and development programs in the field of marine renewable energies (offshore wind, floating photovoltaic panels, wave energy, current energy, etc.).


      In Catalonia, the development plan proposes that it be located in the Empordà area.

      "Now is the ideal time for the deployment of offshore wind power in Spain," said Juan Ramon Ayuso, head of the Wind and Offshore Energy Department of the Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), at the Col-legi d'Enginyers Industrials de Catalunya conference. Why is it the right time? Ayuso argues the increasing competitiveness of floating wind turbines (the only ones viable in Spanish inland waters); the need to generate more energy from renewable sources; the industrial opportunity that their development represents and, finally, "the existence of new techniques that manage to minimize the potential environmental impacts".

      In December 2021, the Government approved a roadmap in which the objective is to install 1 to 3 GW of floating offshore wind in Spain by 2030 (there are 57 GW installed in the world). However, the Executive paralyzed the implementation of these projects until the approval of the current POEM with the aim of minimizing damage to aquatic ecosystems and making the different uses of the marine environment compatible.

      From the technological point of view, the main reason behind the Spanish delay in offshore wind power is the difficulties in implementing fixed foundation wind turbines, which are more technologically advanced than floating ones, due to the characteristics of the coast, which reaches great depths at a few meters.

      The data

      In the roadmap, the government has set a target of installing up to 3GW of offshore wind power by 2030.

      In the White Paper on the Offshore Wind Industry, the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) highlights the strong industrial fabric around this renewable energy, as well as the great potential that port infrastructures could have as logistic hubs or the opportunity for diversification of its activity that the construction of structures and ships to support offshore wind farms would represent for the naval industry. In its white paper, the AEE estimates that the economic impact of offshore wind during the period 2025-2050 would be equivalent to 49,607 million euros of GDP and would involve a gradual increase in employment of up to 17,438 jobs per year by 2045-2050.


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