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Bespoke solution provides innovation and safer installation of world’s first telescopic offshore wind turbine, Gran Canaria

SECTOR:

Renewables – Wind

KEY BENEFITS:

Bespoke solution

Innovative equipment

Increased safety

Reduced cost

World-first

PROJECT

ALE, following the guidelines from the company ESTEYCO S.A., has created a bespoke solution, using innovative techniques for a safer installation of the world’s first self-installing telescopic offshore wind turbine.

ALE completed work on the H2020 ELICAN project lead by ESTEYCO, where ALE is part of the Consortium also made up of Siemens-Gamesa, DEWI and PLOCAN, who have built the first self-installing telescopic offshore wind tower for a 5MW turbine.

Esteyco, as project coordinator, chose ALE because of their reputation in the industry to successfully complete projects involving heavy pieces and a combination of different techniques.

This is the first offshore windtower of its kind; it does not need large, costly offshore equipment for its installation, thus reducing the overall installation cost. All of the wind turbine’s components were assembled onshore at the port, then the turbine was towed to its offshore position by tugs – making it a more efficient and economic methodology. This was a complex project that involved a lot of coordination with other parties, so planning began almost two years before the first test lifts were carried out.

To reduce risk and increase safety on the project, ALE’s R&D department and ESTEYCO developed a unique horizontal guidance system with Wi-Fi to enable the manoeuvres to be performed with wireless equipment and controlled from a boat located away from the tower.

ALE performed, during March – April 2018, test lifts of the T2 section, weighing 240t, then the T1 section, weighing 360t, both measuring 33m high. After ALE’s new horizontal guidance system was used to perform the lifting of the T2 section with nacelle, weighing 540t.

The final offshore installation took place two months later. This phase involved the lowering of the Gravity Base Structure (GBS) and transportation, installation and maintenance (TIM) platform from Arinaga to the Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias (PLOCAN).

ALE performed the final lifting of the T1 and T2 sections with nacelle, weighing 960t in July 2018. This lifting manoeuvre avoids the need for costly crane vessels using strand jacks and the new horizontal guidance system. ALE developed a new type of galvanised strands for the project, which have greater resistance to the corrosion that can be encountered on offshore projects.

ALE’s Spanish branch also developed a new recoiler design to work within the limited space. This rolls over the unit and eliminates the need for the strand guide. Once completed, the wind turbine will be the first of its kind.

“In coordination with ESTEYCO, we have developed specific solutions for all the challenges resulting from the project and reduced risk thanks to our engineering designs. This project has really demonstrated our capabilities in the renewables sector and the confidence our clients have in our innovative methodologies for us to carry out more projects involving these types of towers, both in offshore and onshore.” said Cecilio Barahona, Project Engineer for ALE’s Spain branch.

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