In collaboration with a group of Basque companies, IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA has just launched the Marin-El R&D project with the goal of designing a new marine substation for offshore wind farms in order to expedite installation and significantly reduce costs.
The initiative has been allocated a €10 million budget and is supported by the Basque government. It also intends to offer an alternative to the existing substations, which are too bulky and heavy. This will in turn eliminate one of the main difficulties involved in the various offshore technologies used for generating electricity.
This type of offshore facilities have to meet increasingly demanding requirements, resulting not only from their expanding capacity but also from the need to manage reliable electricity production and minimize losses caused by the distance to the coast.
The proposal whose technical and financial feasibility is to be analysed in the Marin-el project is based on the creation of a self-installing substation. This would provide several advantages: in the construction stage (as it would be developed 100% on dry land) and also in the stages of transport and - most importantly - installation.
In this regard, IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA and its partners have devised a pre-equipped system [see graph] to secure the substation to the sea bed without the help of special installation vessels, thus avoiding the costs associated to the process and various technical limitations.
Successful completion of the Marin-el project - which is due to continue until the end of 2015 - would bring about significant technological development in the offshore energy sector. The consortium headed by IBERDROLA's ingeniería subsidiary includes Ingeteam, Ormazábal and Arteche (companies which offer innovative solutions in substations and energy clusters).
The project also includes Construcciones Navales del Norte, an internationally renowned Basque shipyard that will define the required equipment and offshore operations. It will be supported in this work by the Basque Maritime Forum.
The initiative will also take the environmental impact of this new type of installation into account, via an assessment based on analysing its life cycle, to be carried out by Semantic Systems and Corporación Tecnológica Tecnalia.
This R&D project is an example of the IBERDROLA Group's commitment to offshore renewable energy generation technologies. The Company is currently developing offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom, Germany and France, as well as other projects in the wave and tidal energy fields.