Manifesto for offshore wind power in Spain


Stock image of an offshore windmill. / c7

The reference case is the floating park of major international importance installed in Kincardine (Scotland), which was initially proposed to be installed in the southwest of the island of Gran Canaria.

On March 3, the
Manifesto for the development of offshore wind promoted by the newly established Offshore Wind Forum, promoted by the Wind Business Association. The Manifesto is supported by the conviction of its promoters (170 at the time of presentation) that "offshore wind power constitutes a unique and unrepeatable opportunity for Spain, for job creation and economic and social development in coastal areas and positioning as an industrial and R+D+i country”.

The Manifesto collects information of wide general knowledge of the characteristics and national and international estimates on the need and dimension of offshore wind, organized into three blocks:

The first lists the fourteen reasons why floating offshore wind power is a great opportunity for Spain.

In the second, the recently constituted Forum commits in a general way to «decidedly contribute to the full development of offshore wind energy in Spain, in line with the objectives established in the roadmap, betting on an orderly deployment of wind energy marine, with sustainability as a central pillar of our actions and contributing to making Spain an international benchmark in industrial capacities and in the technological development of floating offshore wind power". Specifying twelve explicit and clear commitments.

In the third, it makes a request to the public administrations for the establishment of a clear, predictable, stable and transparent framework, with a multi-year calendar of competitive bidding processes that includes the holding of a first offshore wind auction in this year 2022 and detailing the seven steps they understand are necessary to do so.

It is inevitable to ask: why? the main companies and institutions that have proven their interest and, in many cases, the demonstrated capacity to promote this industrial activity (in other countries), which is critical for the vital environmental objectives for the Planet, understand that it is necessary to organize a platform of representation and momentum, when most of the responsible European, national, regional, insular and local administrations have shown their commitment and in many cases, established quantified and timed objectives for it.

Undoubtedly and clearly, the distance between the declarations referred to and the objective elements that should make them possible is enormous. In fact, at this moment, the processing of proposals is administratively paralyzed and there is no known date for the unblocking to take place. . Moreover, the planning of the marine space that has failed to comply with the reference period established by the European Commission (which is necessarily prior to any authorization), is in a situation where "it will soon be completed". This planning is a requirement to be able to start any process that has as its purpose the implementation of marine parks in Spain.

The situation described is not accidental, since the national technical and business capacity demonstrated by participation in projects in other countries, has not been able to develop in the last 20 years not a single commercial wind generation project (supported or fixed in the fund). . It has been argued at some point that the characteristics of the Spanish marine platform have been the cause of this situation, but what could have been an objective difficulty is certainly not enough for there not to be a single wind farm installed.

This is clear, since at the time that technology has made floating wind power possible (which makes it possible to circumvent the difficulties derived from the characteristics of the platform), not only has the installation of a single commercial park not been allowed, but the reality confirms that even the proposed pilot projects have been prevented. The reference case is the floating park of major international importance installed in Kincardine (Scotland), which was initially proposed to be installed in the southwest of the island of Gran Canaria and despite having obtained significant financial support from the European Union ( in the NER300 program), after a demanding competitive process, it cannot settle here, but it did so in Scotland, contributing to the fact that seventeen sites have been assigned there for wind generation with a planned capacity of 24,826 MW, of which 14,976 will be floating.

This evident contradiction between the will expressed in the Roadmap and the reality of the non-existence of a single production wind farm in the State, indicates an important and objective resistance, which, without a doubt, is at the origin of the creation of the Wind Forum Marino and the approach of the Commented Manifesto.

Reality confirms the existence of a resistance that has been effective, but that has to be objectified and has to be approached decisively and rigorously if offshore wind power is really to be made possible in Spain.

The reactions that have taken place against the initiatives that are being proposed practically anywhere on the Spanish coast, are gathering the central elements of the resistance: The environmental ones; landscape-tourism; and fishing. That they are undoubtedly well known and that in any project that could be authorized they will have to be properly considered (it cannot be forgotten that these installations in the sea are located in the public domain, which does not happen with those on land).

However, it is essential that while progress is made in the regulatory framework and in the administrative procedures that will derive from it (indicating a longer time frame than necessary), it is increasingly urgent to show that the three elements of resistance can be well faced and its effects eliminated or reasonably minimized. Considering that, in addition, the effects are temporary and recoverable after the removal of the facilities, which, furthermore, based on the selection of the places where they can be carried out, the requirements that will be established for it and the technological improvements available and under development, will undoubtedly produce Contributions to improvements and enhancements, both in environmental conservation and protection and in specific tourist and fishing activities, in the local environment of each facility. To which must be added the effects of a general, environmental, economic and employment nature.



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