And, says the Canarian Government, operations could start as early as 2024 if further, regulatory hurdles are overcome this year.
It would be Spain’s first commercial-scale, offshore wind farm, located in the Canaries Special Zone (ZEC) and also Africa’s, because the islands are located in the Atlantic, some 100km off the Moroccan coast.
The volcanic nature of the archipelago means that the continental shelf, off the Canaries, drops away sharply, making bottom-fixed offshore wind farms difficult, which is why floating solutions are favoured.
The wind farm would involve an €860m investment, according to the Canarian Government. But Equinor, which confirmed that specifics were still under discussion, declined to confirm the planned size, or investment, of the array.
Whether the 2024 start date can be achieved depends, to a large degree, on further bureaucratic and regulatory steps.
Pedro Ortega, the Canarian Government’s Economy, Industry and Trade Secretary, last month urged the Spanish Government to create an inter-ministerial working group, to determine marine zones for the location of wind arrays off the archipelago, which is a prerequisite for building Equinor’s project, and others offshore.
“We need to negotiate with Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition… to consolidate the role the Canaries play as a pioneering region in the development of offshore wind,” said Ortega.
The Canarian Government’s preliminary studies have determined three zones off the islands: Tenerife, south-east of Gran Canaria and west of Fuerteventura, all three with ideal conditions: wind velocities, water depths, topography and proximity to “load centres”.
So far, Spain has just one 5MW offshore turbine installed, and an Alegacy Gamesa machine, installed on a Gran Canaria jetty in Las Palmas.
A second pilot turbine, the part-scale prototype of a
twin-rotored, floating, wind-power platform, which is being developed by EnerOcean, should be installed this summer at the Canaries Oceanic Platform test field (PLOCAN), also off Gran Canaria.
The Canarian Government has also received requests from other companies, besides Equinor, to use the islands as a test case for offshore wind.