Self-installing offshore wind turbine arrives off Spanish coast
28 June, 2018
The prototype of an innovative self-installing offshore wind turbine has arrived in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, ready to be installed.
Photo: The ELISA turbine has arrived off the coast of the Canary Islands and is due to be installed later this summer
A 5 MW turbine is mounted on the self-installing turbine, which has a telescopic tower that will be raised into position, once the foundation has been installed.
The self-installing turbine/foundation concept was designed and developed under the ELICAN project, which received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The technology allows the turbine tower and the wind turbine to be fully assembled in port, eliminating the need for large vessels or cranes during installation, reducing the risks associated with assembly work at sea. It is claimed that the concept could cut installation costs by 30-40% compared to existing solutions.
One important advantage of the telescopic tower is that, when lowered, it lowers the overall unit’s centre of gravity, which enhances the platform’s stability. Being able to build the structure ashore reduces the risks inherent in assembly at sea. Once tugged into position, the platform is ballasted to the seabed. When secure, the tower is raised to its final position, with each new level of the tower lifted sequentially until it is fully built.
Vessel-free installation not only reduces costs, says the consortium, it also provides a way to support the trend towards larger offshore wind turbines, which is an important part of reducing the cost of offshore wind energy.
Assembly of the prototype started in April 2017 at Arinaga port in the north-east of Grand Canaria. The turbine was towed to its final destination at the Plocan offshore site.
Once installed, the performance of the ELISA turbine will be monitored in open sea conditions. The project is due to be completed in late 2018.