The offshore wind turbine is the first of its kind in the world.
Using a concrete self-floating gravity-based structure and a concrete self-lifting telescopic tower, the 5 MW telescopic turbine has been installed in waters just off the Gran Canaria in Spain, reported Power Engineering International.
The unique wind turbine was fully assembled onshore and towed to the site.
Each one of the telescopic wind turbine’s components was assembled on land. Once it was fully assembled, tugs were used to tow the turbine into its offshore location. ALE, a UK-based lifting company, was in charge of lifting the sections of the turbine. Using wi-fi through its own specially developed vessel, the company controlled all the equipment utilized for the offshore maneuvers.
The process of this installation is a more efficient and economic method compared to traditional offshore wind installation methods, which require large vessels or cranes. By eliminating the need for these machines, it cuts down on the risks associated with assembly work at sea.
It is believed that this new installation method could reduce installation costs by anywhere from 30 to 40% compared to existing practices.
The telescopic wind turbine is the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine installed without heavylift vessels.
By being installed without the need for heavylift vessels, this not only reduced installation costs, as mentioned above, but this method can also provide a way to support the installation of larger offshore wind turbines. Larger wind turbines can help lower the cost of offshore wind power.
“It is fantastic to be involved in such a unique and complex project,” said Cecilio Barahona, project engineer for ALE’s Spanish branch. “We have developed specific solutions for all the challenges resulting from the project and reduced risk thanks to our engineering designs.”
The self-installing turbine/foundation project, known as H2020 ELICAN, was led by Esteyco, a Spanish engineering firm. The project received 70% of its funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 renewables programme. The project has successfully delivered its first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine, fully installed, entirely without the use of costly heavylift vessels.
If all goes according to plan, the telescopic wind turbine is expected to become operational and should begin generating electricity later this year.