Spanish Government wants Spain to become the European sea energies benchmark
20 lines of action within the roadmap to reach between 1,000 and 3,000 megawatts of floating offshore wind power by 2030
Minister Council has just approved the roadmap to Develop offshore wind and marine energy in Spain. The Executive defines this document as "a strategy to enhance Spanish leadership in technological development and R&D of different clean sources that take advantage of natural marine resources, with special attention to wind power." The objective set by the Government in this Roadmap is to make Spain "the European benchmark for these technologies", while guaranteeing the "orderly deployment of facilities in territorial waters", so that means "environment respectful "and" compatible with other uses and activities. "
The roadmap contains 20 lines of action with the objective of reaching between 1,000 and 3,000 megawatts of floating offshore wind power by 2030 (which represents up to 40% of 2030 EU Goal: 7,000 megawatts) and up to 60 megawatts of other sea energies in pre-commercial phase (wave energy or tidal energy). According to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, the Government, and "among other measures", plans to enable at least 200 million euros until 2023 "to strengthen the test platforms and offer the best testing benches for new technologies" It also plans to evaluate "the needs of ports infrastructure, where 500 to 1,000 million must be invested to cover the new logistics needs."
The Government justifies its bet
Spain is a wind power – explains the Ministry, both in equipment manufacturing (it has 90% of the value chain) and in electricity production (this year wind is N1 generation source). On the mainland there are now, throughout Spain, over 20,000 operational wind turbines (28,027 megawatts). However, offshore, in Spanish territorial waters, wind power has not been developed yet due to the high depths reaching very close to the coast and because wind turbines with a fixed foundation are economically non-viable from 50 meters deep.
Given this physical limitation, Spain has developed floating solutions for wind turbines over the last few years: 27 identified on a global scale, seven are Spanish, according to the Ministry. Spain is also the European partner with the most R&D facilities for floating wind power and other marine energies, such as Canary Islands Oceanic Platform (Plocan) and Vizcaya Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) or Punta Langosteira (A Coruña) Experimental Exploitation Zone of marine energies, the second test bench for wave energy worldwide.
Wind resource existing in the sea is higher in terms of average speed, energy density and regularity than on land. In 2018, the average global capacity factor for offshore wind turbines was 33% 13 compared to 25% for onshore wind turbines and 14% for solar PV. Looking ahead, new offshore wind projects are expected to have capacity factors greater than 40% in moderate wind conditions and over 50% in areas with high-quality wind resources, reaching capacity factors comparable to others fossil generation ways. [Next to these lines, table extracted from the roadmap where Ministry presents a comparison of the annual capacity factors by technology and region in the world. As we have seen, offshore wind has an advantage over gas].
The Roadmap the Government has designed pursues four main objectives with a view to 2030:
1.- To establish itself as a European R&D centre of reference for the design, scaling and demonstration of new technologies, reinforcing test platforms and offering the best and fastest environment to test new prototypes. To this end, at least 200 million public funds will be activated until 2023 for R&D within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR).
2.- To be an international benchmark in industrial capacities, generating value chain and quality employment throughout technologies life cycle optimizing logistics conditions and together with business initiative, always with a circular economy perspective. Synergies with already leading sectors in our country, such as shipbuilding, iron and steel, or experience in onshore wind energy will be emphasized.
3.- To integrate sustainability as a central pillar of offshore renewable energies development. In addition to an orderly deployment thanks to the Maritime Space Management Plans, now in public information, the deployment of these technologies will be used to incorporate marine environment monitoring systems, facilitating their conservation and improving knowledge on interactions and different activities conditions.
4.- To deploy in an orderly manner facilities, wind farms in particular, with a clear and predictable regulation, on three key elements: spatial planning, connection to the network and business model, which acquire special relevance due to the location of the plants in the public domain, the large initial investment that they require and their high electricity generation.
Other support mechanisms
In order to carry out the roadmap easier, apart from the aforementioned 200 million for R&D, there are -Ministry reminds- numerous financing programs, both European and national. Among the latter, the instruments managed by the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) and the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) stand out, others being able to be incorporated, such as the issuance of green bonds.
The roadmap takes advantage of the Wind Industry Sectorial Agenda, which is part of the Industrial Policy Strategy of Spain 2030 and goes into Component 7 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, dedicated to the deployment and integration of renewable energies.
The Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge defines its "Roadmap for offshore wind and marine energy" as "a strategy to enhance Spanish leadership in technological development and R&D of different clean sources that take advantage of marine natural resources, with special attention to wind power and that also guarantees the orderly deployment of facilities in territorial waters, in a way that is respectful with the environment, compatible with other uses and activities and is used to improve the knowledge of the marine environment ".