Turbines of the largest offshore wind farm ever built in the Horns, UK. SUR
Four companies bid to build mega offshore wind farms off the Costa del Sol: these are their proposals

Four companies bid to build mega offshore wind farms off the Costa del Sol: these are their proposals

The largest projects could supply around 660,000 homes, which is more than all the existing households in Malaga province

Chus Heredia


Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 14:23

Opciones para compartir

Four ambitious plans to build a large-scale offshore wind farm off the coasts of Malaga and Cadiz province in the south of Spain are gaining momentum.

The ministry of ecological transition and the demographic challenge (MITECO) is already assessing the environmental impact of the proposals. Of all of them, only one can opt for the construction and operation of a park. Or in any case, two smaller ones if they fit in the virtual polygon drawn in the sea. The central government will decide on the authorisation between the candidates to settle and produce energy off the Costa del Sol.

1. Terral, 510 MW promoted by Ferrovial off Cadiz and Malaga

The latest project to reach the environmental impact assessment phase is called Terral and is being promoted by Ferrovial. It is designed to produce 510 megawatts (MW). There would be 34 wind turbines of 15 MW each. The power supply lines are planned for Pinar del Rey or Casares. The wind turbines would be approximately 260 metres tall, so they would be visible from several kilometres away.

The Terral wind farm would be located offshore with depths ranging between 450 and 900 metres. The distance to the coast would be about 30 kilometres, off the eastern coast of Cadiz and the western coast of Malaga, mainly between Estepona and Algeciras.

2. Mileto, 612 MW promoted by Magtel in Malaga and Cadiz waters

The Mileto project would be located in the Mediterranean, sharing the waters of Malaga and Cadiz provinces, an area where the wind generation opportunities are ideal. The start-up power would be 612 megawatts. Its environmental assessment is in the initial stages. The project is being promoted by Cordoba company Magtel. The project pitch is still recent so there is little official information available.

3. Neptuno, 1005 MW by Abei Energy and Elittoral, 45 km from the port of Malaga and 52 km from Algeciras

The Neptune project would be located off the coast of Malaga, in waters entirely within the province. In this case, the power is even greater, at 1,005 megawatts. It is in the preliminary consultation phase of its environmental impact declaration.

The project is being promoted by Abei Energy and Elittoral and would involve 67 turbines of 15 MW each and would connect to Pinar del Rey (San Roque). It would occupy 290 km² in which the 67 wind turbines would float on their corresponding platforms, with a separation line of 2,400 metres between rows and 1,200 metres between wind turbines in the same row.

It is planned for a location off the coast of Estepona in an area known for high wind generation, 45km off the Port of Malaga and 52km from the Port of Algeciras. The height of each wind turbine would be no less than 162 metres.

4. Nao Victoria, 990 MW off Marbella, Mijas and Fuengirola, IberBlue Wind

The first project to emerge among the four was the Nao Victoria offshore wind farm, which aims to reach an output of one gigawatt. It is the most advanced of all the projects. It is being promoted by IberBlue Wind, Simply Blue Group, FF Ventures and Grupcamper Proes, according to government documentation. It would be located off the coasts of Marbella, Mijas and Fuengirola.

The 990 MW offshore wind farm would comprise 55 wind turbines with a power output of 18 MW each. The annual power output is estimated to be 4,653 GWh. The entry of electricity supply lines will be chosen from four points: Ventilla, Benahavís, Castellar and Los Barrios.

This park would occupy 309 square kilometres and be located about 22 kilometres from the coast. The depth would be between 680 and 1,000 metres.

La Janda, Poseidon or La Pinta: other projects on the Andalusian coasts

These are not the only Andalusian marine projects in the environmental impact assessment phase. Further west, there are other initiatives. The first, called La Janda, has a much smaller capacity, consisting of four wind turbines of 15 MW each. The novelty is that they are focused on green hydrogen. This project is currently in the consultation phase. The second Cadiz initiative is Poseidón, with 234 MW off Barbate, Vejer and Conil. And there is another initiative off the coast of Almeria and Granada, La Pinta, which is a twin of Nao Victoria, as it is being promoted by the same company.

History of offshore wind farms

The first offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 160 MW, was inaugurated in 1991 in Denmark. In the decade between 2010 and 2020 the power generated increased ten-fold and it is a sector that is clearly expanding. Records are continually broken as to who submits the largest project, some of them in excess of 3 GW.

These are wind farms that operate in a similar way to those on land, with the difference that they have a floating substation and the connection cabling is underwater. Normally winds tend to be more stable and stronger offshore which makes them more cost-effective. However, maintenance and construction costs are multiplied, as are the potential environmental impacts.

The largest Costa del Sol projects, Neptuno and Nao Victoria, could supply around 660,000 homes, according to calculations provided by a renewable energy expert from the University of Malaga. This is more than all the existing households in Malaga province (some 649,000, according to latest INE (national institute of statistics) data in Spain. The budgets could be in the region of 2.5 billion euros.

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