The project coordinated from the Canary Islands and unique in Europe that links offshore wind energy and aquaculture production on a floating platform leaves great expectations at the Andalusian Conference Center, both in the field of fish farming and renewable energy and blue growth, strategic lines of the event.
Under the slogan “Aquaculture: seas and rivers of opportunities” of the XVIII National Aquaculture Congress, AquaWind has been presented at the Palacio de Congresos de Cádiz, a pioneering project in Europe by linking offshore wind energy and the aquaculture production of marine fish in the same floating platform. An innovative initiative that promises to bring real development opportunities at the national level, both in the field of fish farming, renewable energy and blue growth, as well as being an example of entrepreneurship and a potential source for job creation.
The coordinator of the project, Javier Roo, head of R+D+i projects at the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and the Information Society of the Government of the Canary Islands (ACIISI), focused his speech at the congress on the research and development of prototypes, with the presentation of the AquaWind platform. “We must remember that it is the only European initiative that combines the production of renewable energy on the high seas and fish farming in the first floating wind platform in Spain, capable of jointly producing wind energy and high-quality fish,” said Roo, who also represents the University Institute for Research in Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC).
During his speech at the Palacio de Congresos in Cadiz, the AquaWind coordinator clarified that one of the main innovations of the project will be to be able to “evaluate in a real environment the combination of production and use of renewable energy in fish aquaculture”. In addition, during the project, work will be done with two species of fish of enormous aquaculture interest, such as sea bream, and a new species for the diversification of marine aquaculture, such as seriola, (better known as amberjack) characterized by its high value and culinary interest, particularly in the Japanese cuisine. Another advantage of combining various activities is that the occupation of marine space and the visual impact on the coast are simultaneously reduced.
Although AquaWind has just started, the project features the pioneering W2Power prototype offshore wind generator, developed by EnerOcean. As the company based in Andalusia and the Canary Islands clarifies, the W2Power concept seeks to be the most profitable floating wind solution and reduce the overall cost of energy, thanks to the novelty of incorporating two large-capacity wind turbines. Due to its size and stability, the platform can accommodate additional functions such as energy storage or harnessing wave energy, as well as aquaculture.
An important part of AquaWind is understanding the commitment of the various stakeholders that the project may affect, so different actions are contemplated during the project to assess its impact and how it would affect the interested stakeholders. “We have taken this opportunity to share a survey that has been prepared to collect the expert vision of representatives of the entities participating in the congress, as well as the scientific community interested in the aquaculture sector”, concluded the coordinator. AquaWind has been 80% co-financed with more than one million euros by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency, thanks to the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, the remaining 20% corresponding to own funds from the partners of the Project. The project, led from the Canary Islands by ACIISI, has strategic partners in France, Portugal and Spain. In the Canary Islands, the consortium has key entities such as PLOCAN, the ULPGC or the Canary Islands Maritime Cluster, as well as companies specialized in aquaculture production and marketing such as Canexmar S.L. or in the management and communication of European projects such as Consulta Europa Projects & Innovation. Other strategic partners are the Portuguese company WAVEC, experts in marine renewable energy solutions, offshore aquaculture and ocean engineering, or the French company Innosea, specialists in multidisciplinary engineering, strategic advice and R&D consultancy in marine renewable energies, especially offshore wind.