The first Spanish offshore wind turbine is a prototype aimed at the North Sea however Spain could develop the technology itself with more government support, Gamesa executive president argues
The first Spanish offshore wind turbine has been erected in the port of Arinaga on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands despite an industry lacking in state support. The 5MW turbine is located at the end of a dyke and stands 154 metres (505 feet) tall with 62.5-metre (205-feet) long blades. It will be able to supply electricity to 7,500 homes and is expected to obtain certification in March 2014 after which it will be connected to the Spanish national grid.
“In the first half of the year, more than half of all the electricity produced in Spain came from renewable sources” said Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria.
Spain currently occupies the fourth slot in global ranking of installed wind energy capacity but subsidies have fallen in recent years in line with government austerity policies. Ignacio Martin, the executive president of Gamesa, the Spanish company that manufactured the turbine, pleaded to the government not to kill the industry and stressed the potential of offshore wind.
“Even if the industry is still taking its first faltering steps, it is worth betting on” he said.
Spain has around 8,000 kilometres (5000 miles) of coastline but has not, as yet, deployed wind turbines in its waters because the depths are too great. This first turbine is a prototype aimed at the North Sea however Mr Martin added that Spain could develop the technology itself and urged for more government support to develop prototype turbines. This in turn would bring jobs in Spanish factories established by Gamesa for component manufacturing.