The Spanish government is poised to embrace floating offshore wind as part of its efforts to meet its energy transition objectives, via formal tender processes to award marine areas to developers.The continental shelf that runs along the Spanish coasts is so narrow that, in general, coastal depths are usually high – 92% of the marine areas in Spain (the Iberian Peninsula, Canary and Balearic Islands) up to a distance of 24 nautical miles are located at depths of more than 50 meters.
This is significant, because most offshore wind installations are fixed and anchored at depths of around 50-60 metres. New floating wind technology offers a way around this technical barrier.
Spain's National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC) contemplates using competitive tendering procedures to enable the deployment of offshore wind farms through support mechanisms.
According to information provided by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO), the government is planning regulations to govern tenders for the use of marine areas (beyond experimental installations) for floating wind.
The new regime envisages offshore projects being developed under the form of concessions, with a maximum term of 75 years.
The new tendering procedures will need to respect floating wind projects already submitted by different entities and currently undergoing environmental impact assessment procedures, such as those offshore of the Canary Islands and Galicia.
Spain's Royal Decree 1028/2007 currently governs offshore wind authorisations and distributes the competences between MITECO and the Port Authorities, depending of the location of the project or reserve area.
Although the possibility of amendment cannot be discarded, Royal Decree 1028/2007 presently provides the following criteria, among others, to be considered in tendering procedures for granting project areas:
Sufficient legal, technical and economic capacity of the promoter
The tender price submitted
Forecast equivalent hours of operation of the facility based on available data
Technology and its impact on the stability of the electricity system
Economic, environmental and social impact associated with the project
Power capacity of each project
Impact on the safety of navigation, shipping routes and the safeguarding of human life at sea
Other criteria which, given the specific area where the project is to be located, are to be published in the notice announcing the opening of the tendering procedure
The POEM will identify and analyse areas where implementation of installations in maritime districts could potentially increase the energy contribution, as well as the possible compatibilities or interactions with other both present and future uses or occupations.
This article was authored by Ramón Vázquez del Rey Villanueva, regulatory partner at Fieldfisher JAUSAS.
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