We are leading the Flagship project to advance floating offshore wind power

#R&D #renewable energy #wind power

Iberdrola is taking a leading position in the field of floating offshore wind power by spearheading the European Flagship project. The initiative aims to demonstrate the viability and profitability of installing 10 MW+ wind turbines on floating platforms. Because it is involved in other similar projects, the company is able to gain an understanding of every stage in the development of this technology, which will prove crucial in achieving the global goals set for the energy sector.

After eight years working on a variety of R&D projects involving floating technology, Iberdrola group has decided to go one step further and undertake demonstration projects such as Flagship. This initiative, spearheaded by Iberdrola and backed by an international consortium, will be rolled out at the Met Centre in Norway to help reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) to a range of €40-60/MWh by 2030, driven by economies of scale, competitive supply chains and a variety of technological innovations.

The Flagship project plans to develop a 10 MW floating offshore wind turbine and a semi-submersible floating concrete structure. Both elements will be designed to operate in North Sea conditions and will pave the way for future 500 MW floating wind farms. The project is also an opportunity to test the feasibility of installing them in other locations in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Pacific, and to study the cost and logistical viability of using concrete technology instead of steel.

The consortium — which includes companies and institutions from Spain (Core-Marine, Cener, IHC, Zabala Innovation Consulting), Norway (Olav Olsen, Kvaerner, UnitechSubsea, Met Centre), France (EDF), Denmark (DTU) and Germany (DNV -GL)— has obtained 25 million euros in funding from the European Union under the H2020 programme for demonstrating innovative technology for floating wind farms. The project was submitted to the call put out by the Executive Agency for Innovation and Networks (INEA), which manages the European Commission's transport, energy and telecommunications programmes, and it received the highest score (15 out of 15) from among 14 other proposals.

According to the planned project schedule, the floating platform is likely to begin being manufactured in Q2 2021 and be installed at sea in Q1 2022.


Iberdrola is also about to strike an agreement to develop another floating wind power prototype in Spain using different technology, which would help to develop the Spanish offshore wind power industry and assess the viability of implementing this type of technology in Spain. This demonstration project is expected to bolster the supply of offshore wind power in the País Vasco and speed up the energy transition in the region (BIMEP), as well as in other areas such as the Islas Canarias (PLOCAM), thus helping to diversify the Spanish industry.

The company is also exploring the idea of installing additional floating wind turbines in its current project portfolio and it plays an active part in developing large-scale offshore wind power projects.

All of these initiatives offer Iberdrola valuable insight into the wide range of aspects involved in developing floating wind energy, which means the company is well-prepared to commission a commercial project of this nature in the near future. The group, thus, aims to ensure the continuation of its large portfolio of offshore wind power projects, where floating technology is set to play a key role in fulfilling the sector's global goals.


Nearly 20 years after pioneering the move to onshore wind-powered generation, the company has now decided to spearhead the development of today's most promising renewable energy source: fixed offshore wind power platforms. This will be possible thanks to a portfolio of projects totalling around 12.4 GW (gigawatts) in three areas: the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the United States.

The clean energy generated by offshore wind farms, which is crucial in the fight against climate change, is therefore set to become a cornerstone in the company's strategy, to which it plans to allocate 39 % of the €34 billion earmarked for the 2018-2022 period: i.e. €13.26 billion.

Iberdrola group's fixed offshore wind power platform projects.#RRSSIberdrola group's fixed offshore wind power platform projects.

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Discover Iberdrola's offshore wind power projects

The group is currently operating three offshore wind farms:

  • West of Duddon Sands, in operation since 2014 in the Irish Sea. Producing 389 MW of power, it supplies electricity to some 280,000 homes.
  • Wikinger, generating 350 MW. Running since December 2017 in the German waters of the Baltic Sea, it produces power for 350,000 homes.
  • East Anglia One, standing in British North Sea waters, which has now begun to generate electricity. With a capacity of 714 MW, it will be able to provide the power needed by 630,000 households.

It has also announced the development of a new macro wind power complex in East Anglia called East Anglia Hub to encompass all three of the existing projects in its portfolio in this area: East Anglia One North, East Anglia Two and East Anglia Three. With an installed capacity of 3,100 MW, it will require an investment of around £65bn and the construction phase, which is expected to take around four years, will start in 2022. The main suppliers will be announced within the next 10 months.

In April 2018, the company was awarded contracts to build two new plants in the Baltic Sea, with a total capacity of 486 MW: Baltic Eagle and Wikinger Süd. Adding to these new wind farms is the Saint-Brieuc plant in France, with 496 MW.

In the USA, Iberdrola has already set to work on the two biggest large-scale offshore wind farms in the country: Firstly, Vineyard Wind, with 800 MW of power to supply the energy needs of one million homes. And secondly, Park City Wind, which was allocated to the company in 2019 and is planned to produce 804 MW. Both projects are located off the coast of Massachusetts, just south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

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Once these projects are up and running in late 2022, the company will have installed 2,000 MW of offshore wind power, after which it expects to add a further 1,000 MW.