RWE, Saitec Partner to Test Floating Platform for Offshore Turbines


RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies, a Spanish engineering company, have entered a partnership to test new ways to affordably install and operate offshore wind farms in deep waters. 

In a joint pilot project called “DemoSATH,” the RWE and Saitec will start testing a floating platform for wind turbines off the Basque Coast in 2021.

SATH technology is based on a twin-hull made of modularly prefabricated and subsequently braced concrete elements. The float can align itself around a single point of mooring according to the wind and wave direction. The objective of the project is to collect data and gain real-life knowledge from the construction, operation and maintenance of the unit. The pilot project will last three and a half years: 18 months for the planning and construction of the plant, followed by a two-year operating phase.

“The potentiality of SATH to reduce the cost of floating wind is immense. Now is the time to build and operate this floating wind turbine and widen this exciting market,” says Luis González-Pinto, COO of Saitec. 

RWE Renewables will finance part of the project costs. Among the issues to be tested are safe and efficient solutions for vessel accessibility to the platform and for the replacement of large components. In order to be able to flexibly adapt offers for offshore wind farms worldwide to local conditions, RWE is testing other technological options for floating offshore in addition to SATH.

DemoSATH will be Saitec Offshore’s second project in open waters. In April 2020, the deployment of a scaled 1:6 model off the Coast of Santander is scheduled. For the DemoSATH project, Saitec Offshore Technologies provides the design and project management during the whole lifecycle of the development. The company is also managing the operation, maintenance and data treatment during the testing. 

For the large prototype, the structure and the 2 MW wind turbine will be assembled in the port of Bilbao. The base of the structure will be approximately 30 m wide and 64 m long. The platform – including the turbine – will be towed to its anchorage point in a test field two miles off the coast. The sea is about 85 m deep at this point. Hybrid mooring lines, composed by chains and fiber anchored to the seabed will hold the floating body in position. 

The plant is expected to go into operation in the third quarter of 2021. The electricity generated during the project will be fed into the Spanish power grid.

Photo: RWE Renewables and Saitec Offshore Technologies partner on offshore turbine solutions

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