Navantia and Windar bid for two new offshore wind energy orders


The good results of the alliance between the Asturian company Windar renovables and the public shipyards of Navantia are now joined by better expectations. Thus, in addition to firm orders for Iberdrola and the Norwegian company Statoil, for which they already manufacture components in Fene, new orders could be added. Two bids have recently been submitted for the construction of the offshore wind farms Beatrice, to be located in the north of Scotland, and East Anglia, in the North Sea.

The first of these, promoted by SSE (Repsol Nuevas Energías and Copenhagen Infraestructures Partners), requires 84 wind towers – known as jackets – which will support eight-megawatt wind turbines and is scheduled for installation in 2017. In the case of the second project, at the initiative of Scottish Power-Iberdrola, there would be 102 with delivery by the end of the same year.

These are “contracts of great importance” that, although they are expected to be distributed among several of the participants in the bidding process, “would guarantee the occupation of the Fene facilities for years”, as Windar highlighted in a statement on Monday. Each unit requires an average of 60,000 working hours. In it, it also states that “there are well-founded hopes that new orders will arise in the coming months, in light of the offers and the strengths they present”.

If expectations are fulfilled, the alliance would “guarantee employment at the Fene facilities for years to come”. These are not the only orders that could become part of the portfolio that it shares with Navantia, as it has just received requests for bids to manufacture 67 of these structures for the Moray Firth wind farm, which is being promoted in Scottish waters by EDP Renováveis, and which translate into 4.02 million hours of work.

The alliance has also been pre-qualified to submit a bid for the Borkum Riffgrund wind farm to be built in northern Europe. This, added to the fact that in Iberian waters in the north of Portugal they are participating in a pioneering experience (“Windfloat”), where they built a scale prototype of a floating support while waiting to start production of a pre-series – at full scale – of three or four structures, guarantees “linking years of intense activity in Fene, after decades of limited production activity”, the note underlines.

In this context of clear commitment to offshore wind energy, Winder renovables will research, together with the steel multinational Acelor-Mittal, the manufacture of special steels, more resistant and durable for the parts of the wind farms that are built at the Galician facilities.

The collaboration agreement signed links them through a five-year research programme to design manufacturing processes for special steels that offer greater resistance to corrosion, as well as new coatings and surface conditioning of the steel. “All this will make it easier for the parts to be built in Fene to even improve the rigorous post-welding requirements,” the Asturian company emphasises in its statement.

To this end, the researchers will have to work on how to reinforce the materials in high salinity environments and test the combination of steels with non-metallic materials to improve the anchoring of the wind towers at the bottom of the sea. Within the framework of this programme, both parties will have joint teams and projects, interconnecting the research activity of both companies. According to Windar renovables, this agreement will add competitive advantages to the alliance with Navantia, given that the materials resulting from this initiative will be used in the Fene shipyards, in the Ferrol estuary.