DemoSATH roundtable – Floating wind capabilities: challenges and opportunities

Floating Offshore Wind 2023
Floating Offshore Wind 2023 Aberdeen
Eolica Mediterranean
Eolica Mediterranean
Mesa redonda DemoSATH

For the DemoSATH connection event, celebrated on the 18th of September, we brought together experts from the energy and renewables sector to join us in an event where they all shared their vision for the future of floating wind technology and the journey that began with DemoSATH in Basque Country and Spain.

The discussion was moderated by David Carrascosa, Chief Operations Officer at Saitec Offshore Technologies, and featured the participation of José Ignacio Hormaeche, Director of Basque Energy Cluster. This entity, comprised of over 200 associates, is dedicated to promoting the role of Basque companies and advancing the future of floating wind technology in the region. Additionally, Beñat Sanz, Marine Energy Manager of the Spanish Renewable Energy Association APPA represented this energy association that, since 1987, brings together companies and entities whose purpose is the use of renewable energy sources in all their forms. Finally, Javier Marqués, Director of Promotion at EVE, the Energy Agency of the Basque Government created to lay the foundations for an energy policy based on energy efficiency, diversification of energy sources, and promotion of renewables was involved.

Regarding regulation and coexistence between floating wind and marine activities, Beñat Sanz highlighted that “every human activity has an impact, and it’s crucial to minimize it”. Marine areas in Spain are highly protected, but coexistence is necessary. Proper planning is essential, listening to all stakeholders and striving for a balance. However, it is undeniable that “there are certain trade-offs on the table that cannot be avoided”.

The core of the issue is to become an industrial player in order to create prosperity within the local supply chain. There is already a roadmap in place, and we have the POEM (Maritime Spatial Planning) in place. However, there is still work to be done, including the need for regulation and administrative aspects related to grid connection, among others.

Beñat Sanz, Marine Energy Manager

Regarding the role of the Basque Country, José Ignacio Hormaeche pointed out that the credit for attracting events like WindEurope to Bilbao goes to the companies and the existing value chain. Furthermore, he affirmed that “there should be many DemoSATH projects in Europe” and expressed his desire for the continent “to do whatever it takes to lead in floating offshore wind”.

We (Basque companies) have an industrial tradition that enables us to be competitive. Many companies have realized the opportunity that diversification represents, and that’s why they have shifted their focus towards offshore wind with a long-term vision.

José Ignacio Hormaeche, Director of Basque Energy Cluster

When asked about the primary challenges for the industry, Javier Marqués, indicated that the fundamental challenge is “to streamline the administrative processes so that pilot projects or demonstrators do not go to other locations; in some countries like Germany, they can practically do so the next day”. He also emphasized that another important and pending aspect is determining the remuneration scheme.

In the Basque Country, we can only rely on floating offshore wind, even though we have limitations in terms of coastline length and do not have the best wind resource. That’s why our focus is on promoting technological and industrial development. The vision was to create BiMEP to demonstrate and test, as is the case with DemoSATH now.

Javier Marqués, Director of Promotion at EVE