Very soon we could have another architectural miracle in Valencia, our own version of the Colossus of Rhodes – a huge Wind Tower at La Marina, which you will be able to see from miles away…
One of the most interesting future projects in Valencia, the Wind Tower in La Marina, is at the final stage of the approval process. This miracle of construction, designed by the Valencian architect Fran Silvestre, is waiting to jump through the last few hoops before it becomes a reality. If the green light is given, it will become Valencia’s Colossus of Rhodes, easily seen from a vast distance.
While the original Colossus was only about 30 metres high (still a wonder of the ancient world), the Tower of Valencia will be 170 metres high. This tall structure is a combination of industrial and architectural design. Its main purpose, however, is to house a thousand vertical axis windmills (distributed over 50 floors) behind a ventilated façade that allows the production of electrical energy without sacrificing aesthetics.
Although the main energy will be wind, there will also be photovoltaic solar panels to complement production. The tower aims to achieve a production of 5.4GWh per year. Approximately 75% of the total energy would be generated by the windmills installed in the tower, and the remaining 25% would be generated by the solar panels attached to the surface of the structure.
Apart from energy production, the tower will become a research centre for clean energy. Not only that, it will become an important visual reference as well as a major attraction for the entire seafront of Valencia. Promoters contemplate the creation of a tourist viewpoint at the top of the tower, the height of which far exceeds the Assut de l’Or Bridge, currently the highest point of the city at 127 metres.
It’s not just a science fiction project – it’s set to become a reality since the initiative began in 2009. The project received funding from the European Commission in 2012, but Spain’s major crisis brought the project to a halt shortly thereafter. It is a 100% Valencian project, designed by Valencians and financed by Valencians. With the help of a private investment fund and investment manager Net de Gerres (another Valencian), Fran Silvestre, a young and internationally renowned architect, designed the wind tower in 2011. Irrespective of the brilliant work he has done in Valencia and around the globe, this will be his most prominent work.
Thanks to a collaboration between the Institute of Energy Technology (ITE) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), the wind turbines have also been developed in Valencia. The two-metre-wide generators were designed to take advantage of the height and to maximise their performance.
The original cost of the project was estimated at €12m, but since its inception the budget has increased to €20m. However, it will be quite cheap for Valencia, because it is financed privately and requires only goodwill from the local government and the Port Authority. A 30-year concession will be granted to investors, which they estimate will be more than sufficient to recover all costs. And, let’s face it, it’s really cheap for this kind of attraction, for only €20m, compared to the cost of Calatrava’s fantasy, La Ciudad de Las Artes Y Las Ciencias – originally budgeted at €300m in 1991 for three structures, it expanded to about three times the initial expected cost.
Once it’s finished, another attraction will be added to Valencia’s tourist offer, and another landmark for the city. Furthermore, the image of Valencia will be enhanced by this world-class clean and renewable project. Along with its commitment to bicycle lanes and electric vehicles, it seems Valencia is looking to promote itself as Spain’s most sustainable city…