Consortium joins Spaniards and Irish to compete for offshore wind farms in Portugal

Consortium joins Spaniards and Irish to compete for offshore wind farms in Portugal

Called Iberblue Wind, it aims to combine the resources of an Irish company and those of two Spanish companies to invest in offshore wind energy. The new company, to be presented this Monday, already has the wind energy auction in its sights offshore which the Portuguese government is preparing. “We want to bring our experience in other countries, such as the UK and Ireland, to Portugal,” he tells the emphatically Adrian de Andrés, Vice President of Iberblue Wind.

After studying wave energy and working in this area, Adrián de Andrés focused on the promising offshore wind market. He did that between June 2019 and January 2022 for the Xodus Group in Edinburgh. And he has continued to work in the wind industry ever since. offshore to Simply Blue, where he has been the director of market development since the beginning of the year.

Simply Blue is one of the corners of the triangle now called Iberblue Wind, which also includes the Spanish companies Proes Consultores and FF New Energy Ventures.

Iberblue Wind has the supposed objective to “compete for the development of projects in Portugal” and Adrián de Andrés tells the emphatically which the Portuguese government has already indicated that it wishes to bid for the offshore wind auction that Portugal plans to hold. The design of this auction is still being worked on. The bar is set at 10 gigawatts (GW) of power.

It is tentatively known that the government’s intention is to tender at least three areas off the Portuguese coast and that the consortia that will compete in the auction will have to provide counterparts for the country, such as developing industrial capacity onshore to build the equipment, or part of it, to be installed at sea.

“We want to develop at least two projects in Portugal, in the north and in the center,” said Adrián de Andrés, noting that due to concerns about economies of scale, Iberblue Wind will design wind farms of at least 500 megawatts (MW) of power.

Admitting that Iberblue Wind intends to “maximize national establishment”, the manager notes that in order to be successful in the wind auction, offshore Portuguese, de joint venture it must first consult with the port administrations, because to build wind farms in Portuguese waters, the consortium must obtain relatively large areas for shipyards in the ports, and with some depth.

Adrián de Andrés notes that the new generation of floating wind farms that Iberblue Wind plans to build in Portugal will have 80-metre triangular platforms on each side, which will require space to mount these massive structures on land.

Portugal already has experience in this area, with the construction of platforms for the Windfloat park, which is in operation at Viana do Castelo, with three towers with floating triangular bases, supporting 8.4 MW wind turbines. Each of these bases is 50 meters long between each of the three floating columns.

The Windfloat structures were developed by the North American company Principle Power (shareholders EDP and Norway’s Aker Offshore Wind), which plans to commercialize its technology for several floating wind farm initiators, although it is not the only one in this field. race. as there are other floating solutions for wind towers under development by other companies.

Adrián de Andrés guarantees the emphatically that Iberblue Wind has not yet selected technology for the projects it can develop in Portugal. It is certain that it will always have to be a floating solution, given the high water depth off the Portuguese coast. Unlike vast areas in Northern Europe, where offshore wind farms are located in shallow water, the Portuguese seabed has a steep slope, making the use of wind towers technically unfeasible. offshore with fixed columns.

The vice president of Iberblue Wind believes that the consortium’s portfolio of projects under development, which amounts to 10 GW, spanning Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden, is an important business card.

At what price?

Consortia such as Iberblue Wind will take on various challenges to realize what is already in the plan of intentions. One of those challenges is licensing. Adrián de Andrés admits that offshore wind farms “take eight to ten years to develop”. Another critical point is the price.

It is not yet known what the rules for the wind auction will be offshore of the Portuguese government, but the solar auctions forced competitors to compete on price and obtained historically low prices in several lots for the energy to be generated in these new plants.

Adrián de Andrés points to 80 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) as a measure of the leveled cost of wind energy offshore, that is, the price at which these farms will theoretically have to sell their electricity to recoup the investment within the lifetime of the infrastructure, guaranteeing a return for those who invest. But the effective costs depend on several factors, such as the size of the park, the location (it may be in an area that receives more or less wind), construction costs and economies of scale.

The manager of Iberblue Wind told the emphatically that the consortium is developing “an Iberian approach”. In addition to Madrid, the company will have an office in Portugal, which will “probably be in Porto”. At the Iberian level, the consortium has the ambition to compete for business opportunities around 2 GW. In Spain, Iberblue Wind mainly focuses on Galicia and Andalusia.

Simply Blue, a major player in the Iberblue Wind equipment, has as shareholder fund manager Octopus Renewables, a UK clean energy investment vehicle launched in 2010 that currently manages renewable assets of more than 3 GW in seven countries.

In addition to Iberblue Wind, the Portuguese wind auction, due to take place in 2023, has already sparked interest from EDP and Engie, as well as Spain’s Iberdrola and Danish Orsted, among other companies engaged in renewable energy.

The auction was announced in May this year by the Secretary of State for Energy, João Galamba, with an indicative bidding capacity from 6 to 8 GW, but shortly afterwards the Environment Minister, Duarte Cordeiro, increased the ambition to 10 GW. .

It is recalled that Portugal currently has a wind capacity of 5.6 GW installed, almost all onshore (exception is the 24 MW of the wind farm offshore wind raft).

The first two government solar auctions, held in 2019 and 2020, have made new capacity available on the order of 2 GW, so if it happens, the wind auction will offshore will be the largest tender in the energy sector ever held in Portugal.