Spanish race to construct massive offshore wind turbine

Eleven Spanish companies have joined forces on the Azimut Project to develop a 15-MW offshore wind turbine using 100% Spanish technology. Gamesa is the project coordinator for Azimut which also involves 22 research centres and aims to develop the largest offshore wind turbine to date.

Azimut was approved by Spain's Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), a unit of the Science and Innovation Ministry, within the framework of the sixth round of research and development (R&D) grants through the Cenit (National Strategic Consortium in Technical Research) Programme. The project will involve a total investment of €25 million over the next four years and will be co-financed by the eleven participating companies (Gamesa, Alstom Wind, Acciona Windpower, Iberdrola Renovables, Acciona Energía, Técnicas Reunidas, Ingeteam, Ingeciber, Imatia, Tecnitest Ingenieros and DIgSILENT Ibérica).

The initiative, scheduled to finalise in 2013, is designed to establish the technological groundwork for the subsequent development, in around 2020, of a large-scale offshore wind turbine. The programme's initial objectives call for developing a turbine with unit capacity of 15 MW that is capable of overcoming the technical and financial hurdles currently limiting the rollout of offshore wind energy. The most pressing of these obstacles are availability, turbine foundations and energy delivery to land, and the challenge consists in narrowing the gap between offshore energy's cost and required investment and those of onshore wind energy sites.

As for the technological areas on which the project will focus, Gamesa will head activities related to offshore wind energy capture, Acciona Windpower will be responsible for electricity conversion technologies; Alstom Wind will manage the marine structure and substructure segment; Acciona Energía will head construction, operation and maintenance at offshore sites; with Iberdrola Renovables managing the integration of offshore wind energy into the electricity grid.

Through this project, participating companies will reinforce their commitment to R&D in offshore wind energy as a vehicle for achieving global technological leadership and contributing to the generation of offshore wind energy in a reliable, economically sound manner with the utmost respect for the natural environment.

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