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Offshore wind energy

Research and design of floating electrical substations

In shallow waters, offshore wind farms are built on fixed structures. As the depth increases, it becomes more economical to use floating structures, which is why in recent years different technologies of floating platforms for wind turbines are being experimented on, some of which are already in operation in experimental parks.

As the depth and distance from the shore increases, power evacuation becomes more difficult. For the moment, given the reduced dimensions of experimental floating parks, it is not necessary to evacuate energy, however, for the commercial parks of the future with greater power output, this will be necessary. Floating substations, whose engineering is yet to be developed, will therefore be essential.

The WIND2GRID project, in response to this great market opportunity, is focusing on applied research and the collaborative development of floating substations. Eleven Basque companies, spanning the entire industry, from manufacturers of structures and components, to developers of wind farms, including shipyards, are working on a new concept of an innovative floating substation.

IDOM is leading the project, taking charge of defining the design conditions, the requirements of the floating substation, the determining factors of the evacuation technology, and the engineering of the «topside». Apart from participating in the integration of the float-structure, IDOM is also developing a tool to calculate dynamic electrical cables (inter-array and export cables).

The project, which began in 2020, has a budget of €6.8 million for the period 2020-2022 and is financed by the Hazitek Programme of the Basque Government, with support from the European Regional Development Fund. It has already been presented at the “Wind Energy Sector Forum“, and will also be presented at other international events such as “WindEurope” in Copenhagen, “WindEnergy” in Hamburg and the “IPF 2021 – Business Network for Offshore Wind” in Richmond, Virginia in the US.

July 2, 2021


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Members of the WIND2GRID consortium

  • NAUTILUS FLOATING SOLUTIONS. Conceptual development of the floating platform for the substation.
  • PINE. Innovation in operation and maintenance of offshore substations.
  • GALVANIZADOS SALA, OGERCO and VIUDA DE SAINZ. Study and development of new materials and coatings.
  • NAVACEL, ASTILLEROS MURUETA and ERREKA FASTENING SOLUTIONS. Integrated substation life cycle and manufacturing logistics.
  • CREDEBLUG. Innovative tools for the manipulation and repair of submarine cables.

Likewise, the project can count on external technical advice from IBERDROLA, a leading global operator of offshore wind farms. In addition, the consortium is supported by two centers of the Basque Network of Technology and Research Centers (TECNALIA and BCMATERIALS), as well as the BASQUE MARITIME FORUM and the ENERGY CLUSTER.

Throughout the project, a blended floating electrical substation solution will be designed, based on the Nautilus semi-submersible platform concept (left image), adapted to an innovative top-side configuration (right image "topside" of a fixed substation developed by IDOM ).