Gran Canaria leads the pioneering AquaWind project to merge wind power and aquaculture

ACIISI presents the only European initiative that combines offshore renewable energy production and fish farming in Spain’s first floating wind platform, capable of jointly producing wind energy and high quality fish, thus reducing the occupation of marine space, at the Plataforma Oceánica de Canarias.

Tuesday, 11th October 2022.- The coast of Gran Canaria will witness the development of the first innovative prototype at European level that will merge wind energy production and aquaculture production of marine fish on a floating platform thanks to the European AquaWind project, whose official presentation took place this Monday and Tuesday at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN). The validation tests of the new prototype will be carried out more than two miles off the coast and will promote the optimisation of the use of marine space through the combination of two activities on a single platform. “It is the first floating wind platform, built and installed in Spain, which has two wind turbines and which has reached this level of technological development in the world. In addition, it will be a pioneering prototype in developing real tests of the viability of marine fish production in a combined system,” said Javier Roo, head of R&D&I projects at the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society (ACIISI) and coordinator of the project.

AquaWind has been 80% co-financed with more than 1M€ by the European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and Environment, thanks to the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund. The remaining 20% corresponds to funds from the project partners themselves, where it should be noted that more than 50% are SMEs, which is a good indicator of the effort being made in the Canary Islands through ACIISI to promote projects and activities of public-private collaboration and knowledge transfer in the field of regional R+D+I. 

The pioneering prototype of an offshore wind generator, called W2Power and developed by the company EnerOcean, will generate offshore wind energy on a full scale with which it could supply more than 10,000 people per installed platform. “The W2Power concept seeks to be the most profitable floating wind solution and reduce the global cost of energy, thanks to the novelty of incorporating two high-capacity wind turbines and the possibility of housing additional functions due to the size and stability of the platform, such as the aquaculture, energy storage or harnessing wave energy” explained Pedro Mayorga, CEO of EnerOcean.

The European AquaWind project is coordinated from the Canary Islands by ACIISI, but has strategic partners from France, Portugal and Spain. The consortium also has key entities such as PLOCAN, which will lead the work of obtaining the necessary licences and permits, and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), responsible for the aquaculture system through the ECO-Aqua Institute, which will also have the support of Canexmar, a company dedicated to the commercialisation of fish. Likewise, the Fundación Canaria Parque Científico Tecnológico of the ULPGC will also support the management of the project, while the Clúster Marítimo de Canarias will be the meeting and dialogue place for all the agents related to the sea. Other strategic partners are WAVEC, experts in marine renewable energy solutions, offshore aquaculture and ocean engineering, and Innosea, specialists in multidisciplinary engineering, strategic advice and R&D consultancy in marine renewable energies, especially offshore wind.

AquaWind contributes to meeting the European Union’s strategic priorities in the Atlantic Ocean and, more specifically, in the outermost regions. In essence, the project contributes to the reduction of Europe’s carbon footprint by harnessing the potential of marine renewable energy resources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to the economies of the Atlantic Member States, as well as contributing to the sustainable exploitation of the natural resources of the Atlantic seabed. The initiative also aims to improve maritime safety, reacting effectively to natural disasters and contributing to energy and food sovereignty, and is an example that is likely to be replicated in other areas.

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