The European island nation of Malta is aiming to increase the amount of energy created by renewable sources. Like the others members of the European Union they are evaluating different options to meet the goal set by a mandate recently to get 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. To achieve this goal, Malta is considering a proposal by the Swedish company Hexicon, to build a large floating wind farm.
The plant is intended to produce 54MW, which amounts to 9% of the energy currently generated by the two existing power stations. The solution Hexicon proposes in tales a massive offshore hexagon-shaped, 460-metre-wide, floating platform, hosting 36 wind turbines that is anchored to the seafloor by cables.
So far a project description statement (PDS) has been submitted to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority and has been published on the authority’s website. A location for the project has also been identified, northeast of Malta, 11 nautical miles from shore where water depths vary between 100 and 150 metres. A cable would link the wind-farm to an offshore substation in Maghtab.
According to reports a wind farm on a floating platform is the most viable option for Malta as it can exploit wind force from whichever direction the wind is blowing at the time. The platform may turn 360 degrees whilst anchored within 30 minutes. Malta already gets 1 -2 % of it’s energy from renewable alternatives, and if the solution Hexicon proposes gets approved and agreed upon, Malta will be able to meet the demands from the EU by 2020 with this action alone.
No formal application has yet been submitted, according to a spokesperson for Malta Environment and Planning Authority, with regards to the development of the floating windfarm, but Hexicon Malta Ltd. had already met the competent authorities and a special permit procedure was agreed to by the MEPA. There is still no information regarding the final cost for this massive project, but government departments in Sweden, Malta and Cyprus have decided to support Hexicon in the EU investment program for renewable energy NER300.