The Minister of Economy, Knowledge and Employment of the Government of the Canary Islands, Elena Máñez, highlighted this Friday the Blue Economy as one of the bets for productive diversification with the greatest potential of the Archipelago, in a meeting held at the onshore facilities of Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN). During the event proposals were presented for Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) for 700 million euros in offshore wind energy and innovative port actions.
At the onshore facilities of PLOCAN in Taliarte (Telde), Elena Máñez participated in the webinar ‘Actions to promote the blue economy based on R+D+i’ together with the director of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society (ACIISI), Carlos Navarro, the director of the singular scientific and technical infrastructure, José Joaquín Hernández, and representatives of various projects.
“At the moment there are already 15 projects of different technologies, with an average investment of 50 million euros, which are being developed in PLOCAN, a true test site for offshore wind in Spain and Europe to place the Canary Islands in the first league in this area, and this is the way in which we have to advance to ensure that diversification based on the Blue Economy, innovation and knowledge becomes the engine of productive diversification in the Canary Islands ”, highlighted the Minister Elena Máñez.
The director PLOCAN, José Joaquín Hernández, thanked “the Government of the Canary Islands and in particular the ACIISI for the investments made in infrastructures, such as the recently approved cables, because it allows companies to do this type of tests”, while highlighting the return on funding by associating a dozen jobs generated for each megawatt installed.
Carlos García, from Esteyco, engineering of the first offshore wind turbine in Spain; Pilar Heras, from the Danish company FPP with a multipurpose wind power prototype that takes advantage of the energy of the wind and waves; Jesús Busturia, from Nautilus, a Basque company interested in testing its prototype of a floating wind farm in PLOCAN; and Domingo González, from Acciona, with an ‘offshore’ hydrogen storage system, to accumulate electrical energy in chemical form participated in the webinar as representatives of the private sector.
Máñez has pointed out that the pandemic has accelerated the development of technologies, which already generate economic and social return and reported that there are proposals within the framework of PERTE for 500 million euros to test various prototypes of different technologies for the use of marine renewable energies and 200 million for the use of new technologies in the waters of the ports of the Canary Islands.
There is interest in testing ten prototypes of different technologies with an average investment of 50 million euros in marine renewable energy, mainly wind, estimating that half of the investment will remain in the Canary Islands.
These projects, which will be tested in the test site of PLOCAN, include the adaptation of port infrastructures and shipbuilding for their adaptation to the development of the offshore wind industry, demonstrators, floating platforms, prototypes of gravity based foundations with telescopic tower, validation of offshore wind anchors for medium depth, hybridization of floating wind energy, waves and hydrogen generation, among others.
In addition, the Minister has referred to the actions projected in ports, with an investment of 200 million euros, for adapting the port and shipbuilding infrastructures in the main logistics nodes and the manufacture of wind components, for their adaptation to capacities, volumes and dimensions required by the development of the offshore wind industry; and for the production of hydrogen and the use of hybrid solar and wave energy systems.
The Minister of Economy has valued that behind these projects there is an institutional support, which includes the port authorities of Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, A Coruña and Bilbao, the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands, PLOCAN, the Spanish Wind Energy Association and about forty large companies, mainly from engineering and the shipbuilding and energy sectors.
Investments in the European context
The director of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society, Carlos Navarro, placed the planned strategic projects in a European context in which in the next ten years the potential of European offshore wind will be multiplied by five, which currently has five thousand devices at sea, and it is estimated that it will have twenty thousand more in 2030.
Nowadays Spain has a single offshore wind device at sea, on the test site of PLOCAN, and the goal is to have in ten years in the Canary Islands a hundred offshore devices similar to the current one that can generate between 300 and 400 MW of energy.