(Reuters) – Portugal’s first auction of licenses to build offshore wind farms, set to be launched by the end of the year, is aimed for projects with a total installed capacity of more than 1 gigawatt (GW), Energy Secretary Ana Fontoura said on Tuesday.
In January, the Socialist government announced a public hearing to propose five areas off the country’s Atlantic coast where wind farms could potentially be built.
With these projects, Portugal is targeting 10 GW of installed capacity and a total investment of between 30 billion euros ($33 billion) and 40 billion by 2030, though it was not clear how much money the state hopes to recoup from the auction or over what timescale.
Fontoura said the government should receive a final technical report about the areas for the first auction on Wednesday, but it should take place in the north as offshore coastal areas there have the greatest potential.
“We are determined to launch it this year … so we’ll have a lot of work (to do) during the summer,” Fontoura told journalists at an energy summit in Lisbon. “This first auction will surely have a capacity of over 1 GW and then we will hold more auctions in the coming years.”
The auction will be for floating wind farms with turbines installed in deep sea, where winds are strong, allowing it to harness more energy than conventional structures onshore.
Portugal already has a small, 25 megawatts (MW) floating wind project off its Atlantic coast, which is owned by Ocean Winds, a joint venture between Portugal’s main utility EDP (EDP.LS) and French company Engie (ENGIE.PA).
Other utilities have also shown interest in developing offshore wind projects in Portugal, including Germany’s BayWa (BYWGnx.DE), the Irish-Spanish consortium IberBlue Wind and renewable developer and fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
By the end of 2022, plans for 48 GW of floating wind capacity around the world were in place, nearly double the amount in the first quarter last year, according to Fitch Solutions, with European companies driving the expansion.
So far there are only just over 120 MW in operation worldwide. Mass use of such projects is still pricey.
($1 = 0.9084 euros)