Major Offshore Wind Array Planned off Iberian Peninsula

Major Offshore Wind Array Planned off Iberian Peninsula

The joint venture (JV) of an Irish energy developer and two Spanish companies has announced its second large floating offshore wind project. IberBlue Wind, a JV created to develop gigascale arrays in waters near the Iberian Peninsula, on Feb. 17 said it would build a 990-MW project off the coast of Figueira da Foz.

IberBlue, which took shape last year and includes Ireland’s Simply Blue Group and Spain-based Proes Consultores and FF New Energy Ventures, said the new project—called Botafogo—will have 55 18-MW turbines spaced across about 140 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, about 20 to 30 miles off the coast. The wind array is named in honor of Botafogo, a Portuguese galleon built in the 16th century and considered the most powerful warship in the world during that time.

Antonio Costa, Portugal’s prime minister, in January said the country expects to launch its first offshore wind power auction by the fourth quarter of this year, with a goal of having 10 GW of installed capacity by 2030.

18-MW Turbine

The technology for an 18-MW turbine was only recently unveiled. CSSC Haizhuang, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corp., in early January said it has an 18-MW prototype, which would the world’s largest offshore wind turbine launched to date. The H260-18MW will have a rotor diameter of 853 feet (260 meters), which is as long as the height of GE Renewable Energy’s Haliade-X model. The Haliade-X (with a rotor diameter of 722 feet) in December of last year received a full type certificate for operations up to 14.7 MW from DNV, the world’s largest independent certification body.

That certification officially made the Haliade-X the world’s most-powerful operating wind turbine, though several groups—many in China—are working on turbines from 15 MW to 18 MW. Those include GE, Siemens, and Vestas.

The H260-18MW will have blades that are 420 feet long, with a sweep area of 570,487 square feet, or 53,000 square meters. The blades will have independent pitch control, a method of reducing blade loads.

Five Areas for Development

Figueira da Foz is among five areas that Portuguese officials have proposed for offshore renewable energy projects. The Botafogo farm will be built on floating platforms anchored to the seabed. This type of floating offshore wind technology allows for wind turbines to be located in deep water locations at greater distances from the shore.

“Figueira da Foz is a region with great potential. Besides the high wind strengths and the existing port infrastructure, it’s located near to the center of the country where there is significant demand for energy from both industrial and private consumers,” said Adrián de Andrés, vice president of IberBlue Wind. The JV said it is working on several other projects for the Iberian Peninsula, that it plans to announce soon.

The group in November 2022 announced it would build the 990-MW Nao Victoria offshore wind array in the Alboran Sea, off the coasts of Cadiz and Malaga in Spain. That project will encompass about 120 square miles. Spain’s government has a goal to have as much as 3 GW of offshore wind generation capacity installed by the end of the decade.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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