Regional president Juan José Ibarretxe recently presided over the presentation and laying of the foundation marine buoy for what will eventually be BIMEP (the Biscay Marine Energy Platform), a platform for research into electricity generating equipment in the Basque Country (Spain) using wave power. To be installed on the Vizcaya coast at Arminza, the new 20 MW platform will supply electricity to 6000 homes in the region.
During the presentation of this new infrastructure, Ibarretxe made a reference to other energy projects under way in the area, including the pilot wave power station at Motrico, the Atlas of the waves project, designed to evaluate the sea’s potential for generating energy off the Basque coast as a means of identifying locations for future facilities, the European Waveplam project, involving Europe’s leading energy agencies and the Oceantec project to come up with a prototype for electricity generation using the power of the waves.
Given its unique characteristics, the Biscay Marine Energy Platform, or BIMEP, has been launched to become a benchmark in the wave energy industry. Scotland also has a similar platform, though smaller in scale and more limited than this one opened in the Basque Country. Conditions in the Biscay Bay, with mid to heavy waves, are ideal for running this kind of project.
Developers of sea-based electricity generation equipment will be testing their wave converters at a site specifically created for their prototype testing and trials. Besides transferring energy generated by the waves to land, this will also enable the developers to use optic fiber lines to access all kinds of valuable data on performance, energy production and reliability in their research and for improvements to the harnesses. To facilitate the work, a research center at the charming coastal village of Arminza is envisaged. Equipped with cutting-edge monitoring systems, the center will provide the ideal workstation for between 20 and 30 world-class researchers in the next four or five years. Conceived as the most advanced of its kind in Europe and promoted by the Basque Energy Board EVE, the platform is expected to cost around 15 million euros (almost $20 million).
Basically, the project has been designed to attract the world’s main marine technology producers as a way of stimulating research into wave-power harnessing devices and, at the same time, as a tool of economic development for the Basque economy.
For a presentation with all the marine energy projects being developed in the Basque Country, click here