Costa Del Sol Prepares For Large Offshore Wind Farm

Offshore Windfarm Planned For costa Del Sol

Stock image of offshore wind farm. Credit: TebNad/Shutterstock.com

Could the proposed Neptune project set the Costa del Sol on the road to renewable energy? And how will it impact the environment?

On August 30, ABEI Energy & Infrastructure, SL, unveiled its ambitious Neptune project, aiming to establish a massive offshore wind farm off the coast of Malaga. This comes after IberBlue Wind’s revelation last year of their plans for a 55-turbine infrastructure, according to El Español, Saturday, September 7.

Neptune’s Grand Vision

The Neptune project outshines its predecessor with a staggering 1,005 MW capacity, spread across 67 turbines, each boasting 15 MW of power. ABEI, known for similar ventures on the coasts of Lugo and Gran Canaria, has already initiated the administrative process with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition.

They’ve sought the environmental impact study’s scope document, a step IberBlue had taken last May through their subsidiary, Proyecto Eolico La Pinta, SL.

Strategic Placement And Design

Interestingly, while IberBlue’s proposed site is nearer to Granada’s coast, Neptune’s location is set further out. The project spans roughly 290 square kilometres, situated over 20 kilometres from the shoreline.

Technicians have determined this distance as essential for the wind turbines, ensuring they’re placed on their respective floating platforms. They’ve maintained a minimum gap of 2,400 metres between rows and 1,200 metres between turbines in the same row to ‘recover the flow of wind and reduce contrails.’

The turbines are strategically aligned in nine parallel rows, facing northwest-southeast, housing three to nine turbines per row. The initial blueprint allows for potential repositioning post seabed studies and feedback from relevant entities.

Environmental Considerations

Located in the ESAL 1 zone, identified in the Maritime Space Management Plan (POEM) as having offshore wind energy potential, the site’s seabed depth ranges between 400 and 1,000 metres, primarily of a muddy composition.

The July report acknowledges potential risks, admitting possible impacts on fishing. However, it highlights that man-made marine structures often create ‘reef effect’ zones, significantly boosting species abundance.

Yet, the ‘impact associated with the landscape’ is undeniable. ‘Wind farms have a high impact because they are very tall structures (around 260 metres above sea level),’ the report states, adding that the park’s visibility decreases with distance. In Neptune’s case, being over 13 kilometres from the coast, a ‘medium impact is expected.’

Rationale Behind Neptune

ABEI’s proposal aligns with the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan’s goals, aiming for 120 GW of renewables in the electricity sector by 2030, with 50 GW from wind energy. This means doubling the current 25.7 GW of wind power, necessitating over €30 billion of investments between 2021 and 2030.

In December 2022, ABEI began drafting the Neptuno Offshore Wind Farm’s initiation document. However, the Maritime Space Management Plans’ February release required project modifications. Consequently, on April 24 2023, ABEI tasked consultancy firm Elittoral to revise and adapt the document, which has now been presented to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.

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