Gran Canaria World First in Wind Power installations The ELISA – ELICAN PROJECT

The Ministry of the Environment last month resolved that the latest prototype of a marine wind tower that is almost ready for installation beside the groundbreaking Canary Islands Oceanic Research Platform, known as PLOCAN in the Jinamar Bay, will not need to produce an environmental impact assessment, which, however, they pointed out, does not exempt the developer from obtaining the required environmental authorisations. The Canary Islands will be once again a pioneer in the installation of offshore wind generators in deep water without the need to use heavy cargo ships for transport, which is expected to save 40% of the usual costs attached to this type of installation.

The construction of this tower prototype for wind turbines will allow testing and demonstrate of the installation, manufacturing and operational behavior of the latest Elisa technology. The company is developing this first prototype offshore wind power, in the southern most region of Europe, under the seventh European Union program. The main advantage of this telescopic, self-elevating and gravity-cemented tower model is that it facilitates the assembly of wind turbines in marine parks, without the need to use conventional “jacket” structures which entail high costs. The tower will generate 5 megawatts and will be installed in the PLOCAN (Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands) to 30 meters depth, with foundation that has been constructed at the port of Arinaga.


Arinaga and PLOCAN (Gran Canaria). 2015-2017

The ELISA prototype, which is currently under construction in Arinaga on the south east coast of Gran Canaria, is set to become the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine completely installed with full independence of costly and scarce heavy lift vessels.

The ELISA technology involves a novel self-floating GBS foundation system which integrates an autolift telescopic tower, and can be fully assembled on dock. The telescopic configuration of the tower brings down the centre of gravity during the towed self-floating transport, allowing the bottom foundation platform to temporarily act as a self-stable floating barge over which the complete system can be preassembled inshore.

Once ballasted to the rest on the seabed, the tower can be lifted to its final position by means of cables and conventional out-of-the-shelf heavy-lift strand jacks which are reused to lift each tower level successively. All works are carried out from a single access platform.

Expected cost reduction capabilities – as due diligence by both benchmark developers and offshore turbine manufacturers – exceed 35% when compared to Jackets or XXL Monopiles in deep waters (35m plus). It is a system excellently suited for the next generation of offshore wind turbines thanks to its direct scalability, based only on conventional and readily available equipment and means.

The technology has been developed and certified following all standards of the Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

In short, the prototype culminates a 7-year development and demonstration process, which has been supported by benchmark R&D institutions such as CDTI and the Horizon 2020 program by the EU commission under the ELISA/ELICAN projects. Those projects led by ESTEYCO, also counts with the collaboration of three partners leaders in their respective fields such as: GAMESA, ALE Heavy-Lift and DEWI-UL.


The Elisa Project focuses on the construction of the substructure for the final overall demonstration of the technology.

The self-buoyant foundation platform is the base for the critical installation process, and thus concentrates a significant part of the market’s risk perception. Such installation process has already been duly analyzed through advanced numerical modelling, and most notably has been contrasted along an intensive and demanding 14-month tank testing campaign with notably positive results.

Nevertheless, market de-risking requirements demand a full scale prototype in relevant environment for commercialization.

So the objective of the present project is to effectively demonstrate for market introduction the complete installation process and means, covering construction, towed transport and ballasting for installation, all through a full scale offshore prototype in relevant environment.

The prototype is being manufactured in a drydock built for the purpose in the Arinaga harbor, in Gran Canaria.

The project focuses on the foundation system and prototyping. In complementarity, the Elican Project was launched in order to provide the construction of the tower and the installation of an operational offshore wind turbine.

The Elisa Project has a total budget of 3,568,375 € and was selected for the sme-instrument phase 2 in march 2015. The action started in june, 2015 and will last until 2017.

The Elican project will upscale the Elisa project to the final demonstration state of the technology by the construction of a real scale fully operational offshore wind turbine in open water, in the Plocan area. A strong team of complementary european companies with worldwide leading presence in the wind energy industry join forces to provide the market with a disruptive high-capacity and cost-reducing integrated substructure system for deep offshore wind energy.

Supported again by the H2020 Programme, The Elican project will design, build, certify and fully demonstrate in operative environment a deep water substructure prototype supporting a 5mw offshore wind turbine.

It will comprise the manufacturing and installation of the telescopic wind tower in the dry-dock built for the purpose in the Arinaga harbor (Gran Canaria), the installation of a 5 mw offshore wind turbine, the transportation of the assembly, the ballasting of the foundation, the connection of the turbine to the grid and the monitoring of the turbine under operation.


Source: ELISA – ELICAN PROJECT – Esteyco

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