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FEATURE SPONSOR


SPOTLIGHT ON THE BASQUE COUNTRY


platform for real-scale testing and validation of marine energy components and systems. 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. BiMEP is located off the coast at Armintza and with a capacity of 20MW it offers a complete portfolio of services for speeding up development of marine energy technologies.


SETTING THE PACE IN R&D Alignment among business, research centres, testing sites and government translates into intense collaboration in R&D projects in which the Basque value chain has a strong involvement. Currently, there are two emblematic projects under way connected to these infrastructures, HARSH and OPERA.


HARSH is a strategic project funded by the Basque Government with the underlying objective of carrying out industrial research in the search for solutions to common problems (corrosion, fouling, etc.) faced by companies in the development of their products for energy applications in harsh marine environments.


Regarding OPERA, it is a European distinctive project funded by the H2020 programme led by TECNALIA and with the participation, among others, of four other Basque organisations, such as Iberdrola, Oceantec, BiMEP and EVE. Its main objective is to reduce the cost of wave energy by 50% and, for the first


time, to provide open access to high- quality open-sea operating data to the wave energy development community.


A COMPLETE VALUE CHAIN WITH INTERNATIONAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Many initiatives have been launched which have positioned the Basque value chain as an international reference point. The region has a strong business fabric operating in both energy and shipbuilding sectors, with more than 70 Basque companies who have developed a specific offer for wave energy, including WEC components, equipment and auxiliary wave farm services (such as connection solutions, moorings, buoys, power electronics, etc.).


One of the most representative cases is Oceantec, the first Spanish company to connect its own WEC to the grid. This pioneer enterprise commissioned its low power OWC prototype, the MARMOK-A-5, at BiMEP in 2016, surviving two winters in open Atlantic waters and currently continues supplying electricity. It also participates in OPERA, providing operational data.


Two other enterprises are currently working on the development of converters, Arrecife Energy Systems and Sener. The Arrecife start-up, which has obtained funding from the SME instrument and the Seal of Excellence from the European Commission, is growing by leaps and bounds. Its converter simulates a coral reef that opposes the strength of the waves to


create resistance and absorb much of its energy and it is currently in the stage of funding a prototype on a real scale. On the other hand, the internationally recognised engineering company Sener also has its own patented wave energy converter design, based on the principle of the OWC.


R&D AGENTS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE


In close cooperation with these companies, the Basque Country hosts a network of R&D organisations and highly experienced research groups, that are referenced in wave energy projects within the EU framework programme such as TECNALIA, which until recently chaired the international Ocean Energy Systems association.


Other Basque research centres and universities, such as Azti TECNALIA, IK4 research alliance, Mondragón Unibertsitatea and UPV/EHU, also work together developing specialised, world- class and market-oriented research that covers a wide range of marine energy activities from environmental monitoring and EIA studies to the designing of marine farms.


Basque Energy Cluster


WEBSITE


VIDEO


www.wavetidalenergynetwork.co.uk


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