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08 February 2011

Alstom, Acciona and Gamesa ask the IREC to set aside areas for them to install wind turbines at the ZÈFIR Test Station offshore wind plant

ZefirIREC will be responsible for awarding the definitive positions at the experimental plant.

8 February 2011 – The Catalan Institute for Energy Research (IREC) has signed a framework agreement for technological collaboration with the Spanish wind turbine manufacturers Alstom, Acciona Windpower and Gamesa, who are seeking to have areas set aside for them in the ZÈFIR Test Station offshore wind testing plant, where they can later install their turbines. The plant is the first offshore wind energy experimental centre in Spain and will be located off the coast of Tarragona.

The agreement sees each manufacturer seek a position within the plant, distributed between the two project phases. The signing of the agreement covers all of the phase 1 positions and 75% of the phase 2 ones. It leaves open the possibility of the companies being able to request more areas later, along with other manufacturers who may seek positions to install their turbines. Once all the requests have been collected the IREC will award the definitive positions.

IREC managing director Antoni Martínez said: “Industry’s response and interest in this project is very positive… for the IREC it is highly satisfying to lead this project which will signify great technological progress and a chance to increase industry competitiveness.”

About the project
The ZÈFIR Test Station will be an international research facility used for the testing of offshore wind turbines in deep waters, to be located off the coast of Tarragona and constructed in two stages. The first will consist of the installation of a maximum of four wind turbines anchored to the seabed at a distance of 3.5 kilometres from the coast, with a total power output of no more than 20 MW, while the second will involve a maximum of 8 floating wind turbines that will be installed around 30 kilometres from the coast, which together will provide a maximum power output of 50 MW.

About the IREC
IREC is the leading centre for research in the energy sector in Catalonia. Created in 2008, it is specialised in Technological Research and Development activities related to saving energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies; more specifically, it has work lines based on technologies related to micro networks, electric vehicles, energy storage, building efficiency, bioenergy and biofuels, and offshore wind energy.

The Institute also has an electricity and power electronics area and another aimed at research, design and characterisation of materials for energy. The Institute will be rolled out progressively through to the year 2014, at which time it will have 160 highly qualified researchers.

IREC is based out of Barcelona and Tarragona and the members of the board, chaired by the minister Francesc Xavier Mena i López, are drawn from the Government of Catalonia, through the Ministry of Enterprise and Labour and the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, and the Government of Spain, through the Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology Research (CIEMAT) and the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE). Other members are the University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Rovira i Virgili University, as well as the companies Endesa, Gas Natural Fenosa, the Repsol Foundation, Enagás, Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH) and Alstom.