The roadmap for the development of offshore wind and sea energies offers big opportunities for the naval sector
At the proposal of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, on December 10 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the Roadmap for the Development of Offshore Wind and Sea Energies. The aim of this strategy is to promote Spanish leadership in the technological development and R&D of the different clean energy sources that use natural marine resources, with special attention to wind power.
The roadmap already has a first allocation of 200 million up to 2023 for R+D. In addition, it will also benefit from numerous European and national funding programs, such as those managed by the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) and the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE).
The roadmap aims to reach between 1 and 3 GW of floating offshore wind power capacity by 2030. This ambitious target represents 40% of the European goal of having 7 GW of this renewable technology installed by the end of the decade. In addition, a capacity of up to 60 MW will be achieved in other marine energies, such as wave and tidal energy.
The unfinished business of offshore wind energy
Spain is a leader in onshore wind power, both in terms of equipment manufacturing and electricity production. In fact, this year this renewable energy is already the leading source of generation.
Despite this, offshore wind has hardly been developed in Spain. The main obstacle so far has been the high depth of territorial waters for projects with fixed foundations, which are unfeasible with depths of more than 50 meters.
Four major objectives
With a view to 2030, the roadmap pursues four major objectives:
- Establish Spain as a European R&D reference pole for the design, scaling and testing of new technologies. 200 million funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) will be used for this purpose.
- To become an international benchmark in industrial capabilities, generating a value chain and stable, sustainable and high quality employment. Synergies with sectors that are already leading in our country, such as the naval, steel or onshore wind power, will be emphasized.
- To integrate sustainability as a central pillar in the development of renewable energies in the sea.
- To deploy the facilities in an orderly and environmentally friendly manner, compatible with other uses and activities.
Opportunities for the naval sector
The roadmap for the development of offshore wind energy points out that Spain already has strong industrial capabilities and talent in important sectors for the development of marine energy, such as shipbuilding and ancillary industries.
In fact, the relevant positioning of Spanish industry in the wind and naval fields has already allowed the country's companies to play a decisive role in the deployment of offshore wind at European and global level.
In the specific case of the naval sector, the development of offshore renewable energies generates new business opportunities both in the manufacture or assembly of components and in the construction, operation, repair and maintenance of specific vessels to service offshore wind farms.
Offshore energy will be an important source of demand for specialized vessels to support the construction, commissioning and maintenance of offshore wind farms. In particular, there is a need for ships with large cranes, of which there is little supply in the market. In this sense, the Spanish naval sector has accumulated a great deal of experience in the construction of support vessels for offshore oil and gas operations, which can be used in the deployment of marine renewable energies.
On the other hand, the manufacture of large wind turbine structures and components in Spanish shipyards, which have extensive experience in the manufacturing processes of metal products, presents a great opportunity for the diversification of the shipbuilding industry's business.
Up to 1 billion euros for port infrastructure
It should also be noted that the needs of port infrastructure will be assessed, and between €500 million and €1 billion will be invested to cover new logistical requirements.
According to the European offshore renewable energy strategy, only a few European ports are currently prepared for the assembly, manufacture and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
The size and weight of offshore wind turbine components require infrastructures that few ports can currently offer: access for large capacity vessels, large internal and external storage capacity, lifting capacity, the possibility of accommodating specialized vessels (gondola transport, crane vessels, cable laying vessels, service vessels), crew transfer…