SPAIN TO BUILD GIANT OCEAN TURBINES
Spain: World leader in offshore wind turbine technology? A research project led by Gamesa is looking to give Spain a head start in the production of bigger turbines for offshore wind farms.
Jason Deign, 18 January 2011 (Wind Energy Update)
"…Spain’s [11 company, Gamesa-led] Azimut initiative to build a 15MW offshore turbine…will not result in a 15MW turbine…[It] finances research…[but not] a complete turbine…[Azimut] includes three competing turbine makers…[It] is about carrying out basic research into the technology elements each project partner would need to develop in order to work with offshore wind farms providing up to 15MW per turbine.
"And it is not just about the turbines. Hence the inclusion of companies such as Iberdrola and Acciona Windpower, which will be studying issues such as how to get the energy back to shore and how to install and maintain such massive wind farms…It’s about investigating the viability of different project elements [such as bi-pole and leeward-positioned rotors]…"
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"Mapping out the groundwork in this way makes a lot of sense given Azimut’s ambitions. The largest turbine built so far, the Enercon E-126, delivers less than half the energy planned by Azimut, and on land-based, not offshore, locations…Improvements to the Enercon turbine should take it up to 7.5MW, and at least four manufacturers (AMSC Windtec, Clipper, Sway Turbine and Wind Power) are currently studying 10MW offshore machines…But 15MW is a [paradigm-changing] conceptual leap…
"…[T]he project will need to come up with ways of minimising the turbine’s total head mass…Gamesa will focus research on vertical-axis configurations potentially similar to Wind Power’s 10MW Aerogenerator X design…[T]he six-month-old, four-year project [is not expected] to start yielding results until 2012 or 2013, which would mean the first commercial turbine designs might not emerge from manufacturers until 2015 or 2016…"
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"…[Though] the Spanish government… has pulled support for its domestic wind energy market, [it] is at least helping companies…Almost half of the EUR€25 million assigned to the project will come from [Spain’s] Ministry of Science and Innovation’s national strategic technical investigation consortia…The rest is coming from the Azimut’s 11 private-sector partners: Gamesa, Alstom Wind, Acciona Windpower, Iberdrola Renovables, Acciona Energía, Técnicas Reunidas, Ingeteam, Ingeciber, Imatia, Tecnitest Ingenieros and DIgSILENT Ibérica; 22 research centres are also involved…
"…[Industry experts believe] an integrated approach is the best way to tackle the large-scale offshore projects that will characterise European wind energy in the coming decades…[T]he aims of the project may no longer seem so grandiose when it finishes in 2013…"