Basque energy strategy (the “3E2020”) targets a 14% contribution of renewable energy to total energy demand by 2020. To meet this goal, we are working to encourage implementation of wind power, solar power, biomass, geothermal energy and marine energy.
In the area of marine energy, given the specific characteristics of the Basque coast, the sources realistically available are wave energy and floating offshore wind power. Forecasts for 2020 are for an installed capacity of 60 MW of wave energy and 50 MW of floating offshore wind power.
In the area of wave energy, the strategy aims to consolidate a scientific and technological offer and a value chain with a range of equipment, components and services. To do this, it is planned to:
Launch initiatives to boost the position of the Basque network of R&D+I agents and value chain as an international reference point.
Support Basque companies in developing a specific offer for wave energy, including WEC components (power generation systems), equipment and auxiliary wave farm services (such as power take-off, power electronics, operation and maintenance).
A 296 kW wave energy plant has been in operation in Mutriku since 2011. The Biscay Marine Energy Platform (bimep) due to open in 2014 will provide an infrastructure for testing marine energy generating equipment.
Offshore wind power
The aim of the wind power strategy is to support leading companies in developing a competitive supply of products and services adapted to boosting the capacity of wind turbines and developing the offshore segment, creating a business-generating effect throughout the entire value chain. This is to be achieved through:
Support for the development of a technologically state-of-the-art offer in segments of the value chain in which Basque companies have a good starting position, related to wind turbine components and equipment and wind farm systems and services in general.
Encouraging adaptation of the current portfolio of products and services to larger wind turbines and development of the offshore segment.
Biscay Marine Energy Platform or bimep is an infrastructure for testing and demonstrating marine energy converters, located off the coast at Armintza. With a capacity of 20 MW, the purpose of the platform is to demonstrate the technical and economic viability and safety of the converters before they are rolled out on a large-scale commercial level. It is due to begin operations in 2015.
The converters will be moored for several months, though never installed permanently; the primary goal will not be power production, since these are technologies that are not yet mature enough for commercial operation.
Once it is fully operational, the bimep is intended to be not only a test bed, but also a research infrastructure. In order to reach a sufficient degree of maturity in marine technologies to allow significant reductions in the cost of the energy generated, it is necessary to research and learn from the prototypes installed on the bimep so they can be improved to an optimum level of commercial development.
During 2013, the administrative processes required for the infrastructure were completed and the work of laying the underwater and terrestrial power lines was concluded. The test area has been marked out and work continues on construction of the substation. It is due to come into operation in summer 2015.
ii. Mutriku Plant
The facility opened in July 2011 and is the first commercial plant in Europe to use wave energy to generate electricity. It has 16 turbines with a total capacity of 296 kW, harnessing air compressed by the action of the waves.
When the wave comes in, the water enters the chamber, compressing the air inside which is pushed out at high pressure through an opening at the top. This pressurised air drives the turbine which in turn drives the alternator, producing electricity. As the wave goes out again, it sucks air back through the hole, again driving the turbine and generating electricity.
All the power generated at the facility is fed into the grid for general consumption. It is estimated that the plant, now in automatic production, is capable of meeting the household electricity requirements of approximately 100 homes.
Mutriku town council and Ente Vasco de la Energía have organised guided tours to the wave energy plant which is located in the outer breakwater of the town’s harbour. This service is intended to given the general public a better understanding of the working of the facility. Guided tours can be arranged directly at the tourist office in Mutriku (in Plaza Txurruka) or by phoning 943-603-378 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.