Spain just launched its first offshore wind turbine on Monday! The 505-foot-tall turbine with 205-foot-long blades is expected to meet the annual energy needs of 7,500 homes on the archipelago. Installed on a dyke off the Arinaga port in July of this year, the turbine is expected to obtain its certification around March 2014, at which point it will be connected to the local electrical grid.
Produced by Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa, the five megawatt turbine – constructed with parts that are 100 percent made in Spain – is the company’s first foray into the offshore energy sector and is expected to become a benchmark thanks to its optimized energy costs.
“The G128-5.0 MW wind turbine, the first 5.0 MW Offshore platform prototype, has a rotor with a diameter of 128m and a total height of 154m,” Gamesa explained.
“Since it started operating last July, it has been producing energy at full capacity, dispatching more than 1 GWh to the grid in that time and generating enough power to supply 7,500 households in the Canary Islands each year. The facility’s start-up is a prerequisite in the process of securing type certification, slated for the first quarter of 2014. Mass production will commence over the course of next year.”
Currently, Spain is ranked number four internationally in terms of installed wind energy capacity. Unfortunately, the country’s renewable energy sector has seen a barrage of severe cutbacks recently due to an ongoing financial crisis. Subsequently, companies like Gamesa have struggled to implement new sustainable projects in the country.
In addition to budget issues, Spain’s 5,000 mile coastline is a challenging environment for wind energy generation as the surrounding ocean levels are too deep for most turbines. Gamesa’s prototype in Arinaga is geared to the more shallow waters of the North Sea, which generates most of Europe’s wind energy. However, with innovative new technologies, an emerging economy and vested support from the government, Spain’s extensive coastline could host more wind energy in the future.