Spain’s Basque region will host a 50MW offshore wind farm by 2020. Locally-made deep-water floating foundations will be deployed, it was announced this week at the Bilbao Marine Energy Week.
The Nautilus project - projected to cost €100m - is led by research and development centre Tecnalia, assisted by local companies Astilleros Murueta, Tamoin, Velatia and Vicinay. It will feature ten 5MW turbines installed in depths exceeding 60m in the Atlantic off the province of Gipuzkoa, on the Spanish-French border.
A small-scale pilot will be tested next year, according to Tecnalia’s director general, Joseba Jaureguizar. "Commercial production will start in 2016," he said. The project is expected to create "more than 100 new jobs in its first five years," he added.
Nautilus aims to spur Basque leadership in offshore wind technology, especially deep-water foundations and large generators. Tecnalia is a leading partner in the European Suprapower research project, which aims to use superconductor technology to scale wind turbine generators up to 10MW and more.
Basque industry and energy junior minister, Juan Ignacio Motiloa, said at the Bilbao event that his government intended to support offshore wind and renewable energy sources more generally, as a "vehicle for economic growth".