Self-Installing Turbine Erected Off Spanish Coast


A self-installing five-megawatt offshore wind turbine prototype has been put in place near the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, heralding a design that can be assembled in port, eliminating the need for large vessels during the establishment process.

The concept for the “Elisa” turbine was developed by a consortium led by Esteyco Energia, under the Elican project, an endeavor funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 program.

Self-Installing Turbine

According to the Offshore Wind Journal, the design allows both the turbine tower and the wind turbine to be assembled in port. Customarily, large vessels are used to carry and help place offshore wind turbine components, but with this new element of assembly, the need for those vessels is eliminated. This also reduces risks associated with assembling the structures at sea. Ultimately, this design and execution could cut installation costs by 30 to 40 percent, compared to traditional alternatives. This design could also pave the way to supporting larger offshore wind turbines, which would in turn lower the cost of wind energy.

When the telescopic tower is lowered, the unit’s center of gravity is also lowered, which improves structure's overall stability. The platform is first ballasted to the seabed, with the tower being lifted into its final position, soon followed by the addition of the other levels until the structure is complete. The tower base is made of concrete, according to reNEWS. Heavy-lift company ALE handled lifting sections of the structure, as well as transportation, installation and maintenance.

The prototype, composed of a Siemens-Gamesa 5-MW wind turbine, has three sections; the upper two were put in place by ALE. The turbine is expected to start generating power in this year’s fourth quarter.

Elican Project

The Elican project is being carried out thanks to coordination between a number of European companies:

  • Civil engineering firm Esteyco takes charge of the global structural design and the manufacturing of the tower, as well as project management;
  • Adwen Offshore S.L. oversees turbine supply and load calculation;
  • ALE Heavylift handles marine operation and tower lifting; and
  • Deutsches Windenergie Institut looks after testing and monitoring of wind turbine components and sensors.

“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.”


Tagged categories: EU; Europe; Infrastructure; Offshore; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Wind Towers

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