In collaboration with a group of Basque (France/Spain area), companies, Iberdrola Ingeniería say they have launched the Marin-El R&D project which aims to design a marine electrical sub-station for offshore wind farms.
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.
They explain that these types of sub-stations 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 their distance to the coast.
Iberdrola Ingeniería and its partners have, they say, devised a pre-equipped system to secure the substation to the sea bed without the help of special installation vessels, thus avoiding the costs associated with the process, and other technical limitations.
Successful completion of the Marin-el project - which is due to continue until the end of 2015 - would, the developers consider, bring about significant technological development in the offshore energy sector. The consortium headed by Iberdrola Ingeniería includes Ingeteam, Ormazábal and Arteche.
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 environmental impact of this new type of installation will also be taken into account, with an assessment based on analysing its life cycle, to be carried out by Semantic Systems and Corporación Tecnológica Tecnalia.