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17/06/2018

BIMEP authorised to host research on floating wind turbines

Environmental authorisation from the Ministry for the Environment was published today in the Official State Gazette

Bilbao, 12 June 2018 – Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BIMEP), the Basque offshore research plant, has received authorisation from the Ministry for the Environment to host prototypes of floating wind turbines for research purposes.

This is an essential step in extending research at the marine site into new wind-power technologies. The process of applying for authorisation began in late 2014 and has followed the regular path.

In practise, the green light from the Environment Ministry means that BIMEP can now host a maximum of two prototype floating wind turbines at any time for trialling and research. The investigations will not only examine the mechanical functioning of the turbines and improvements in output efficiency, but will also look at environmental aspects. Specifically, the impact of the devices on the surrounding habitat will be measured, particularly with regard to birdlife.

Research on the turbines will therefore allow improvements not only in floating wind-power technology, but also its interaction with birdlife. Pioneering environmental protection measures will be introduced, such as systems capable of detecting the proximity of birds and activating measures to deter them and make them alter their flightpath, or even systems for halting the turbine to prevent collision.

Marine energy research
Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BIMEP)  is an offshore test site connected to the grid by underwater cables. The facility can host tests on floating wave energy collectors and now also a new generation of floating offshore wind turbines.

BIMEP opened in 2015 and is 92% owned by Ente Vasco de la Energía and 8% by the IDAE (Ministry for Ecological Transition)

It is currently hosting studies on several floating power generating devices. With this new environmental authorisation, and in view of its excellent logistical conditions and marine resources, it is set to become a benchmark site for the technological development of floating wind power, the new frontier in wind energy. Offshore wind power is one of the forms of renewable energy currently enjoying most growth throughout Europe, but it is only feasible at sites with a broad, shallow, continental shelf. At other locations —such as off the coast of the Basque Country and the Iberian peninsula in general— the sea is much deeper and it is not possible to build towers with foundations on the seabed. The development of floating technologies will therefore be decisive for the further expansion of this form of renewable power production.


Official State Gazette: https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2018/06/12/pdfs/BOE-A-2018-7896.pdf

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