Offshore Renewable Energy in the Basque Country
The Basque Country has become a worldwide reference in Offshore Renewable Energy. This strategic positioning begun in 2004, when TECNALIA led the PSE-MAR project for the development of technology and test infrastructures for wave energy. EVE, Basque Government’s Energy Agency, supported the project and the initiatives. Since then, the support first to the research community and then to the supply chain, has allowed the Basque Country to position as one of the reference environments for the development of marine renewable energy. In the last years, the experience of wave energy has been also applied to floating offshore wind, technology in which The Basque Country has an important position -R&D and supply chain.
In the Basque Country we are experts in R+D+I and we lean on our internationally recognized supply chain. The support of the Basque Government to recognized reference research centres and universities like TECNALIA, AZTI TECNALIA, UPV/EHU and BCAM allowed the development of technology and qualification of the industry. In the same line, Euskampus fosters the collaborative research through the Pole of Knowledge Renewable Marine Energies. In this sense, it can be highlighted the position of TECNALIA, a reference research centre in Europe with an important position in wave energy and floating offshore wind. TECNALIA chaired IEA’s Implementing Agreement on Ocean Energy, and has been part of the main organizations and committees for the development of wave energy and floating offshore wind. As part of this strategic positioning to put the Basque Country in the forefront of the offshore renewable sector, TECNALIA is also involved in the standardization committees.
There has been a clear bet for wave energy and offshore wind, with the Basque Government support through the promotion of two world reference test-sites boosted by EVE, Mutriku OWC plant and BiMEP which allow the technology development, and the top-level laboratories in TECNALIA.
Partnership and binding entities
Cooperation among research centres, testing sites, industry and government has led to relevant Research projects. Furthermore, the Basque research has led to the creation of new technology-based companies for the development of different concepts.
Finally, the Basque Energy Cluster and the Basque Maritime Forum are a great support in their work of diffusion and in being a link between very different sectors that have joined up to be able to give service in all the aspects of the supply chain. In this sense, both entities have promoted the creation of two groups: Offshore Wind Energy Basque Country and Wave Energy Basque Country where a series of Basque companies join forces in order to strengthen their position in international markets.
Mutriku OWC plant is the first grid-connected wave energy plant in Europe. With 16 chambers, and a total capacity of almost 300 kW, is also a test-site open to researchers and developers.
The Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) is a real scale testing site with a capacity of 20 MW. Located in Armintza, provides the manufacturers with the opportunity to install their equipment in open sea conditions for demonstration and operational (power generation) purposes or for testing the technical and economic viability and safety of the concepts. Designed to test wave energy converters, BiMEP got recently the permission to test up to two floating offshore wind devices.