July 20 - The construction of Haizea Wind's offshore wind tower manufacturing plant has commenced at the Port of Bilbao, Spain.

The port claims that the construction of the facility supports the creation of a thriving Basque wind energy industry, and consolidates its position as a specialised port in heavy load projects.

The building complex will occupy 48,000 sq m and will be located on a 77,000 sq m plot on Dock AZ-2, in the Port of Bilbao Extension at Zierbena.
Haizea Wind will invest EUR37.4 million (USD43.5 million) on industrial equipment and the start-up operation of the facility, while the Port Authority of Bilbao awarded a EUR17.6 million (USD20.4 million) contract to a consortium of companies, formed by Construcciones Intxausti, Inbisa Construcción and Gaimaz Infraestructuras y Servicios, for the construction of the facility with a seven and a half month completion period.

The manufacturing plant, which will export offshore wind towers and other components, is expected to commence activity in the first quarter of 2018.

According to the Port of Bilbao, the plant will have an output capacity of 180 offshore towers per year, which results in 540 sections per year, given that each tower consists of three sections. This will bring almost 107,000 tonnes of traffic to the port each year, says the port.

In addition to the blades, nacelles and towers, the plant will be capable of manufacturing other oversized components used in offshore wind farms, such as monopiles and transition pieces. 

The Port of Bilbao says that as the offshore wind towers can have diameters up to 8.5 m, weights up to 400 tonnes per component and, once fully assembled, a total length of more than 90 m, there is an intrinsic requirement for them to be manufactured dockside, as transport by land is too difficult.

This construction of the facility form part of the port authority's investment plan to activate industrial projects, such as wind power generation, in the region.