Floating Wind: DemoSATH Floater Launched in Spain

(OE) Spanish offshore engineering firm Saitec Offshore Technologies and renewables giant RWE on Wednesday marked the completion and the launching operation of their DemoSATH floating wind unit.

SATH Technology is based on a concrete platform concept with a plug-and-play Single Point Mooring, the same technology used for FPSOs.

The DemoSATH project uses a 2MW turbine in a full-scale prototype that will be deployed offshore Bilbao and will be the first floating turbine connected to the Spanish grid.

“The project moves forward at a fast pace for its installation later this summer. During the next months, the submarine dynamic cable will be deployed at the installation site and the floater will be towed out to be connected to it, as well as to the mooring lines that were previously installed in late April,” Saitec Offshore Technologies said.

The load-out and launching operations were performed at Punta Sollana quay, in the Port of Bilbao (Spain), where the prestressed concrete platform was previously constructed, assembled and equipped with a 2 MW turbine.

The DemoSATH unit was loaded onto the semisubmersible barge’s deck by means of Self-Propelled Modular Transporters. The barge was then ballasted down lower into the water until the DemoSATH unit became buoyant, after which it was towed off.

Credit: Saitec Offshore Technologies

Araceli Martínez, Chief of Engineering at Saitec Offshore Technologies: “This is a great step forward for the DemoSATH project. The load-out and float-off operations were an important milestone to fulfill as they were the first of their kind executed for the SATH floating offshore wind turbine. The operations were thoroughly planned between all the parties involved and the final performance was excellent. Once afloat, it took less than 45 minutes to safely berth the DemoSATH wind turbine at quay. After the successful completion of the launching in the Port of Bilbao, we are proud to announce that the demonstrator is ready to become the first floating wind turbine to be commissioned to the mainland Spanish Grid during the next months.”

Martin Dörnhöfer, Director of Floating Wind at RWE Renewables: “We are glad to see DemoSATH has been launched safely and successfully. This is another important milestone towards the offshore commissioning of the floating turbine later this year. For us at RWE, it is also another milestone on our way to unlock the great potential of floating wind globally, especially in countries with deeper coastal waters, like the US, France, UK, Norway and – certainly – Spain. We aim to have one gigawatt of floating wind capacity in construction or operation by 2030. Jointly with our other pilot projects, DemoSATH enables us to gain early experience for our future developments. Its innovative concrete-based platform further broadens our knowledge on innovative floating wind concepts.”

Credit: Saitec Offshore Technologies

Teresa Ribera, Third Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, participated in the event and highlighted: “We will have to make these technologies viable for those who have had that audacity, that pioneering leadership. We need to activate the levers to make these developments a commercial reality.”

Saitec Offshore Technologies and RWE Renewables entered into the partnership to develop the DemoSATH project in 2020.

The 2MW unit using SATH Technology will be installed in a test field (BIMEP) which is two miles off the Basque coast, where the sea is 85 meters deep. The SATH design allows the pre-fabrication of concrete components and uses a single-point-of-mooring system that allows the structure to yaw around its mooring and passively align itself to the wave and current direction. The aim of this demonstrator project is to test the technology for the industrialization of offshore wind farms in deep waters.

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