Energy

Plans underway for the offshore wind farm Mar de Ágata in the Almeria region of Levante, with a generating capacity of 300 MW

26/10/2021 (Spain)
Plans underway for the offshore wind farm Mar de Ágata in the Almeria region of Levante, with a generating capacity of 300 MW
  • Off the coast of the municipalities of Níjar and Carboneras, and based on floating technology, the Mar de Ágata Offshore Wind Farm is being developed by a joint venture between BlueFloat Energy and SENER.
  • It will create 7,500 jobs during the construction and decommissioning phases, 50% of which are direct, with an estimated contribution of 630 million euros to the GDP.
  • Over its useful life, estimated at 30 years, the farm will reduce CO2 emissions by 12 million tons.

A joint venture between by BlueFloat Energy and SENER will build Mar de Ágata, one of the first floating offshore wind farms in Andalusia, which will be located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the eastern coast of Almería, between the municipalities of Níjar and Carboneras.

This farm will have a generating capacity of 300 MW (28% of the current electrical consumption in the province of Almería). During its estimated 30-year useful life, the Mar de Ágata farm will reduce CO2 emissions by 12 million tons.

The project will have a strong positive impact on economic activity and job creation. Specifically, it will create 3,750 direct and 3,750 indirect jobs during the construction and decommissioning phases, at least 55% of which will likely be in Andalusia. During the operation and maintenance phase, the project will create around 120 annual jobs, 60 of them direct. This thus provides an opportunity to reconvert the economic activity of the area following the closure of the Carboneras power station, taking advantage of the existence of a 400-kV transition relay in the "Litoral" substation in that municipality.

Thanks to Mar de Ágata, the amount of wind power installed in the province of Almería will go up by 59%, and in all of Andalusia by 8.6%. In economic terms, the impact on the national GDP is estimated at 630 million euros, representing 0.28% of Andalusia's GDP.

The farm will be equipped with 20 floating technology turbines, each with a 15 MW capacity. The maximum estimated height of each wind turbine will be 261 meters above sea level. They will be located more than 15 kilometers away from the main viewpoints in Cabo de Gata (La Amatista and La Isleta del Moro).

The planned connection point, the SE Litoral, in the municipality of Carboneras, will be located within 10 kilometers of the site, meaning the project does not include the construction of an offshore transformer substation.

The location of the site required rigorous studies, involving various technical and environmental aspects: wind characteristics, availability of sufficient electrical connections, environmental protection concerns, fishing, depths, geomorphology of the sea bed, waves, maritime traffic, air navigation and easements from the Ministry of Defense.

The location of the fishing grounds and the areas where the main fishing fleets in the area operate, based in the ports of Almería, Carboneras and Garrucha, were a key concern in order to minimize the potential impact that the installation may have on fishing activity. Shipping lanes were also taken into account.

The developers are working with agencies, organizations, associations and other local entities to reach an agreement on the project's specifications such that it benefits the entire territory and its population in terms of its environmental sustainability.

The preservation of both marine and land ecosystems, and their associated biodiversity, are another priority in the context of a just ecological transition. As a result, Mar de Ágata, beyond specific studies on the environmental impact and the marine area, will apply international best practices to minimize the project's potential effects on flora and fauna.

Synergies with local projects and enhancing the value chain

The project was also envisaged with the idea of exploiting synergies with other local projects, and especially with the green hydrogen plant developed by Caldererías Indálicas. This plant will be built in two separate phases, and will be able to produce up to 20 tons/day of hydrogen. Part of its electricity demand could be supplied by the energy produced by the wind farm, thus ensuring the green nature of its hydrogen production. In return, Mar de Ágata would leverage the technical capabilities and facilities of Caldererías Indálicas to manufacture part of the floating structures locally. It would also reinforce and empower local contractors to build, operate and maintain the facility.

In addition, the Mar de Ágata Farm could lead to the consolidation of a value chain of suppliers consisting of companies in the region, with a focus on R&D, engineering, project management and procurement management, during both the construction and operations phase, positioning Andalusia in the international renewable energy market, and generating long-term economic value.

The Mar de Ágata floating offshore wind farm directly satisfies the current needs for Spain to successfully complete its ecological transition, the goal of which is to decarbonize the Spanish economy and neutralize its greenhouse gas emissions, thus complying with its commitments to the EU under the Paris Agreement.

These commitments involve transitioning Spain's energy model by developing an electricity generation system based exclusively on renewable energy. This new model seeks to generate up to 74% of its total electricity from renewables by 2030, as laid out in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). Andalusia hopes to install a minimum of 25,650 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, 45% of the 57,000 forecast in the PNIEC, as part of Andalusia's Horizon 2030 Energy Strategy. The Ágata offshore wind farm would contribute to this objective, while also satisfying the four areas of action of the document Energy Guidelines for Andalusia, prepared by the Andalusian Government: the fight against climate change, the use of clean energies, the commitment to efficiency and the commitment to innovation.

In terms of climate change, over its useful life, estimated at 30 years, the farm could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 12 million tons.

DEVELOPERS: BLUEFLOAT ENERGY AND SENER

The Ágata Floating Offshore Wind Farm project is being developed by a joint venture between BlueFloat Energy and SENER.

BlueFloat Energy consists of a team of pioneers in offshore wind energy, which has extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in the development, authorization, financing, construction, commissioning and operation of fixed and floating bottom offshore wind energy projects. As part of its corporate vision to accelerate the global deployment of offshore wind energy as a key factor for energy transition and economic growth, BlueFloat Energy is currently developing marine wind energy projects under a global mandate.

SENER is a private engineering and technology group founded in 1956, a global leader in the energy, infrastructure, naval and aerospace sectors. With a workforce of more than 2,300 professionals and offices on every inhabited continent, SENER is a leader in renewable energy engineering and services in every stage of design, development and construction. SENER is renowned for its ability to create innovative engineering solutions, and is collaborating with its customers to implement offshore wind power in order to fight climate change.

Both companies are also responsible for developing Parc Tramuntana, a floating offshore wind energy project designed for Empordà and the province of Girona (Catalonia).

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