Galicia shines at the vanguard of the Offshore Wind Energy
The sector was born from the crisis due to the need of Navantia to spread out their business when facing the lack of naval construction, the orders sustain already hundreds of jobs.
New airs are blowing for Galician industry and they are coming from the sea. Winds are originated miles away from our costs, nevertheless they have provided contracts to big shipyards as well as to small companies and promoted occupation for hundreds of workers. If decades ago Galicia was a reference in Spain within the installation of wind farms and manufacturing components, nowadays, along with important international companies, it is up to the podium as supplier’s reference for Offshore Wind Energy. The heart of the components industry of the sector is at Ferrol’s Bay, at the shipyard from Fene, at the mercy of the forced alliance by the governmental Navantia and the private Windar Renovables from Asturias, that since the end of 2014 has got already four contracts, two with Iberdrola, one with Statoil and another one with Siemens. All of them for the manufacture of foundations, fixed or floating, which support wind turbines at the sea. In order to carry out the orders, Navantia’s counts on its main subcontrartor, Nervión Industries from Basque Country, which is served, at the same time, for a large number of companies who provide all kind of services such as: painting, mounting, scaffolding, welding and auxiliary elements manufacturing. Windar, with facilities in Avilés and Gijón, also undertake some works given to Galician companies, mainly from Ferrol’s area.
But today’s history success was born from a crisis. After the falling of contracts in the naval industry, Spanish public shipyards have had the need to sound out new business possibilities. ‘This diversification might meet several requirements: to be related to our knowledge and to require particular facilities next to the sea. At the same time, we were under a strong pressure for the adoption of renewable energy sources, which would come to substitute others more pollutant. In this context, all directions would have pointed to offshore wind energy’, remembers Julio Martín, Navantia Fene-Ferrol’s director. Two years of intense work to show that a ship builder could also have the flexibility to produce for wind farms crystallize on the first contract: 29 jackets -huge steel components over which the air generators were placed in the middle of the sea- for the first farm of Iberdrola itself, the one for Wikinger, was the one the main part of Galician sector has used for the first time.
‘Germany appreciates the quality of the work made in Galicia’ pointed out Estanislao Rey-Baltar, Wikinger Project director for Iberdrola, company for which the manufacturing of another order has just started a few weeks ago at the Ferrol’s Bay. Suppliers ‘ have changed work for a must at new technical requirements and training to full fill kite tough standards within the welding and quality fields’ declares Julio Martín.
Navantia and Windar have been placed between the reduced group of Europeans installers that manufacture foundations for the sector, pulling subcontractors among them. Iberdrola, in Spain, has ordered Wikinger jackets in Fene, a sub-plant for the farm in Navantia Puerto Real (Cádiz) and the piles (steel structures where the jackets are hammered), and the towers of the windmills in Win-dar facilities in Asturias. They are the three communities who participate on their program. Sometimes, Gallaecian industry works are done in the factory, others in the proximities of the farms. As the one done for Wind1000, from Santiago de Compostela, that has 50 workers at the German port off Saasnitz for the pre-assembling of the air generators of Wikinger; this contract has brought a year of work.
Roberto Bouzas, Nervión Industries on-site Manager, insisted not only on the importance gained by the sector, but also on its compatibility with the naval construction. ‘Both sectors are able to live together and should live together’ he commented.
Power and farms continue to grow and the main producers believe in the generation of new orders, in view of the new enclosures at the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Navantia has clear where they should move to keep gaining market share.
‘We should continue improving engineering and manufacturing procedures, as well as, the optimization of new facilities, in order to continue offering in the, each time, deepest maritime wind farms. Structures each time more and more high and heavy will be the challenge we have to get ready in a short period of time’ says Martín. ‘we ask the industry to walk with us in the cost reduction challenge.’
Innovation and standardization for improving competitiveness of the sector are the focus of the Director of the Electrical company.
As Offshore Operations Manager of Iberdrola, Álvaro Martínez is testimony of the exponential growth of the market, where the electrical company is used as the trailblazer of the small Gallaecian companies joined around the works allocated to Navantia and Windar Renovables.
(Source: La Voz de Galicia)