The award was presented by the Association of Civil Engineers in recognition of BiMEP's contribution to the development of marine energy

  • BiMEP has two separate test facilities, a wave power plant in Mutriku and an offshore site located off Armintza. 
  • It is joint owned by the Basque energy agency (EVE), with a 75% stake, and the Spanish Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification, which has a 25% holding.

This year the Basque Association of Civil Engineers has given its innovation award to the marine energy test facility, BiMEP, for its crucial role in promoting research and development into new marine sources of renewable energy — specifically wave power and floating wind power.
The award, presented at the association's annual meeting in Bilbao, recognises the innovative thinking of BiMEP's founders a decade ago. In awarding the prize, the association referred to their foresightedness in identifying that tech companies would need fully equipped and pre-authorised offshore test infrastructures for trialling floating renewable power generation devices.
By commissioning the BiMEP, they provided the market with a critical permanently-available infrastructure for sea trials. The move also made research and development more efficient, by obviating the need for each company developing a prototype to invest millions of euros on testing it at sea and to engage in the laborious administrative processes involved in obtaining permits. BiMEP accelerated this process forward by offering a fully prepared 'plug-and-play' facility.
Large scale investment is required to develop a prototype from the initial concept or idea phase through to construction and offshore installation. This process requires years of work by scientists and a search for funding. Without BiMEP, it would take even longer to obtain the necessary authorisation and connect the device to the onshore power grid. More time, labour and money would be required for design and construction of the underwater power lines, onshore substation, etc. BiMEP makes all these infrastructures available to technology companies, thus reducing development times, rationalising investment and attracting talent from around the world.
About BiMEP
BiMEP –the Biscay Marine Energy Platform– is a public company, set up in 2011 to develop, build and operate a site for trialling wave power and floating wind power devices. Its two partners, the Basque energy agency (EVE) and the Spanish Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE), have a 75% and 25% holding respectively.
BiMEP has two separate test areas. One is located on land, in the town of Mutriku (province of Gipuzkoa) and hosts the town's wave power station. Since it was first opened in 2011, this demonstration plant has been operating continuously, producing close to 3,000 MWh — a world record for the technology.
The second facility is a test site for floating devices, located three miles off the coast at Armintza (Lemoiz, Bizkaia). It is connected to land by four underwater cables and can be used to test wave collectors and floating wind platforms.
Companies using the facilities include Zunibal, Idom, Ditrel, Arrecife, and Wello. The latest milestone came with the installation of the first floating wind turbine. As well as generating power, the installation is also being monitored to study operation, performance and operability. The technology is from the Basque company Saitec and the turbine is being trialled for a two-year period.
New devices are to be installed shortly, as part of an innovative public procurement process carried out jointly with other European agents. The Basque engineering company IDOM will install a more advanced version of the prototype it previously tested for three years at the site. Irish company CETO will be testing a prototype for optimising performance at sea, and finally, a second floating wind turbine, yet to be defined, is due to be installed in 2025.

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