For the first time in Spain, they are scrutinizing which marine areas may have offshore wind turbines that exploit the energy of the wind in our waters. Machines will be installed on a surface similar to the extension of La Rioja, but where?
When deciding where these "modern windmills" will be installed in the water, the compatibility of each area with other uses such as fishing, shipping routes, aquaculture or tourism and its natural resources is being analysed. Although national defense or maritime security are also factors that are taken into account when determining the location of new energy facilities.
The Ministry of Ecological Transition studies the environmental impact of the implementation of each wind turbine, however, the criticism and misgivings from the fishing sector is very clear and they already denounce the spaces and species that may be left unprotected.
For the first time in the history of Spain, and for an initial period of five years, parks for the use of renewable energy, specifically wind, will be installed in our marine spaces.
The first studies estimate an installation of offshore wind turbines with an extension of 5,000 square kilometers of Spanish territorial waters in 19 polygons within the Spanish marine demarcations:
- North Atlantic
- Strait area
- Alboran sea
- Canary Islands
The Spanish installation will be located within these five zones, but their specific impacts are now being studied and which ones have the most suitable factors for the exploitation of these renewable energies.
According to the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan of the Government of Spain, it is planned to install between 1,000 and 3,000 megawatts of power by 2030. This translates into some 200 wind turbines of about 15 megawatts each.
These first studies of the so-called POEM (Plan for the Ordering of the Maritime Space) are only the first steps, because the environmental and performance studies of the installation go much further, for example, at what distance from the coast will the wind turbines be installed? sailors?
The minimum distance depends on each maritime delimitation. There is no standard or minimum distance to the coast for offshore wind turbines. Thus, in the Canary Islands there could be facilities just under 2 kilometers from the sand on the beach, while in other areas such as the Galician coast there could be more than 30 kilometers away.
The Maritime Space Management Plans or POEM detect outstanding variables to assess the different maritime areas. There are Priority Use Zones (ZUP) for general interest or High Potential Zones (ZAP) for certain sectoral activities. And in parallel, the wind potential of that area is studied to establish more suitable areas for the exploitation of the resource. Some technical requirements:
- Wind of 7.5 m/second at 100 meters high (in the Canary Islands at 140 meters)
- Depth not greater than 1,000 meters
- Proximity on land to electrical infrastructures for the evacuation of the generated energy
Offshore wind is that source of energy that is nourished by the force of the wind, it is a clean and renewable energy, that is, that nature offers us for free, that is inexhaustible and non-polluting. The force of the wind is used on the high seas where it is much higher than the speed on land or on the coast. To collect this force and this natural resource, wind turbines are installed on infrastructures resting on the seabed.