Country Reports



The National Ocean Strategy 2013-2020 is the public policy instrument in Portugal for the sustainable development of the economic sectors related to the ocean, including the energy sector.

The three key pillars of the maritime economy are: Knowledge, Spatial Planning, and Promotion of National Interests.

The plan defines strategic actions, such as the support for new forms of technology applied to maritime activities, by creating conditions for the installation, testing and development of emerging forms of technology.

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In March 2015, Law 38/2015 was published, implementing Law 17/2014, establishing the Policy on the National Maritime Areas Planning and Management (LBOGEM). LBOGEM defines the general principles applicable to maritime spatial planning and the legal framework relating to the use of Portugal’s maritime areas.

The Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 57/2015, of 30 July, approved the Financial Instrument for Energy, promoting the diversification and use of clean energy sources. The funds shall be partially conveyed by the allocation of European structural and investment funds for the period from 2014 to 2020.

The Ministerial Order no. 202/2015, of 13 July, approved the remuneration regime applicable for wave energy and offshore wind projects, at an experimental or pre-commercial stage. A basic Feed-In Tariff of €80/MWh is set for these projects, applicable to the first 20 years of the project. This value can be increased by €20/MWh if the projects have received incentives from the Portuguese Fund Carbon (FPC).

In Portugal, FCT (The Foundation for Science & Technology) is the main funding agency for research covering all fields of science, including ocean energy. FCT is part of OCEANERANET, a network of 16 European national and regional funders and managers of research and innovation programmes, from 9 countries, in the field of ocean energy, funded by the European Commission. The first join call for proposals was launched in October 2014 and a number of projects were approved in 2015.

Agência Nacional de Inovação (ANI), which until September 2014 was known as AdI (Agência de Inovação), has also a role in funding applied research. It is managed together by the two ministries (Ministry of Education Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Economy). Its main purpose is to stimulate business-oriented research in Portugal. The main source of the funds it manages comes from the Operational Programmes. 

Portugal 2020, signed by Portugal and the European Commission, is the main instrument for business investment for the period 2014-2020, defining the financing priorities in the application of the European Structural and Investment Funds in Portugal. It is comprised of four thematic Operational Programmes and seven regional Operational Programmes directly addressed to the promotion of research and innovation in the regions concerned. In particular these 2 topics can address marine energy technology:

  • Competitiveness and internationalization through COMPETE 2020 Programme;
  • Sustainability and efficient use of resources through PO SEUR Programme.

On the Portugal 2020 website ( there is a Plan of Calls for Proposals, which enables future applicants to prepare and plan their projects. The Balcão 2020 site ( provides guidelines for submitting proposals.

In March 2015, the Portuguese Law 38/2015 was created laying down the bases for the Planning and Management of the National Maritime Space (LBOGEM), defining the legal framework that allows for the implementation of marine spatial plans in the whole national maritime space, including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. The approval and implementation of Portugal’s legal regime on marine spatial planning and management of the national maritime space is a notable achievement for Portugal with respect to ocean governance.


  • License for water resources utilization – managed by the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA). This license is the main consent required and can be authorized through a license or concession:
  • A license is required for devices deployed for less than one year and for installed capacity below or equal to 25 MW;
  • A concession is mandatory for more lengthy time periods. In this case, a competitive public examination must be carried out, starting with a public announcement by the competent authority.
  • Environmental license – managed by the Coordination Committee on Regional Development (CCDR), which is the regional authority;
  • License for the power production or grid connection – a request made by the developer to the Portuguese Electricity Distribution (EDP);
  • Building license for infrastructure on land (e.g. substation, cable routes) administered by the municipal council of the area where the project is to be installed.

In Portugal, a specific site for wave energy development – offshore S. Pedro de Moel, between Figueira da Foz and Nazaré - with an area of 320 km2, was designated by the Portuguese State, in 2008. It is a demarcated maritime space in water depths between 30 and 90m. In 2010, ENONDAS (a subsidiary of the Portuguese Grid Transmission System Operator) received from the Portuguese State a public concession for this site for 45 years. Enondas has adopted the trading name of Ocean Plug. In 2015, there has not been much progress regarding the development of the infrastructure for the pilot zone.



WavEC is a private non-profit association, currently with 13 associates (industrial and public), and devoted to the development and promotion of offshore energy utilization through technical and strategic support to companies and public bodies. WavEC team is composed by 20 specialists with a broad range of experience on ocean energy, including both the technical (numerical modelling, wave resource, monitoring, technology) and non-technical (economic models, environmental and licensing, public policies, dissemination) issues.

In 2015, WavEC coordinated two European funded projects:

  • WETFEET, initiated in June 2015, funded by the EU H2020, with 3 years duration. The overall objective is to understand and find solutions to the constraints of wave energy technology. In particular, the project seeks to identify the reasons that have been delaying the sector’s progress and to propose viable solutions to improve the overall performance of new technologies. It will address issues, such as reliability of technological components, survivability capacity of the devices, high development costs, long process for commercialization, as well as industrial scalability of tested technologies.
  • OCEANET started in 2013 and will be concluded in 2016. It is a training network of young researchers in the area of floating offshore wind and wave energy (Funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme). 

WavEC has been further collaborating with a number of European R&D consortiums, including:

  • RICORE (2015 - 2016), dealing with consenting processes on marine renewable energy projects and aiming to establish a risk-based approach to consenting processes (funded by H2020).
  • DTOCEAN (2013 - 2016), providing shared access design tools for wave and tidal energy converter arrays (funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme).
  • PolyWEC (2012 - 2016), dealing with a new class of polymeric wave energy converters (PolyWECs), employing Electroactive Elastomer (EE) transducers (funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme).
  • HiWave (2013 - 2016) focused on the development of wave energy technology by the Swedish company Corpower, including tests at sea (funded by KIC InnoEnergy, a company funded by the EC European Institute of Technology (EIT), devoted to developing innovative industrial products).

WavEC is a founding member of the European Ocean Energy Association (OEE), and associate member of the European Energy Research Alliance.

Two groups have been active on ocean energy at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon:

  • Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IDMEC) with a decades-long history in wave energy conversion studies;
  • Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC) whose involvement in ocean energy is more recent.

Following previous years, the activity at IDMEC has concentrated on wave energy conversion, especially the development of new types of oscillating water column (OWC) converters and self-rectifying air turbines. Laboratory tests of moorings with imposed motion of the moored body have been performed to validate numerical codes. Small scale model tests of a patented new concept for a floating OWC have been performed at IST, in collaboration with LNEG, Lisbon. An important area of research at IDMEC is latching control of floating and fixed-structure OWC converters, taking advantage of the new types of air turbines fitted with fast valves; this included numerical modelling and a hardware-inthe- loop testing at Tecnalia test rig (in Bilbao, Spain) within the framework of the FP7-MARINET programme.

IDMEC/IST is a partner in the WETFEET project (European H2020 programme); their involvement concerns mainly the experimental development of a high-efficiency twin-rotor self-rectifying air turbine, and the development of new concepts for floating OWCs. Modelling and optimization, combining CFD and model testing of the recently patented twin-rotor self-rectifying air turbine have been performed, in collaboration with the Universities of Valladolid and Oviedo (Spain). The results, published in the journal Energy, indicated a peak efficiency about 86%. 

Ocean energy is becoming a major area in the diversified activity of CENTEC. The activities at CENTEC in ocean energy involved a wide range of topics covering waves, Tidal currents and offshore wind. The characterization, in European waters (Iberian Peninsula, Galway Bay), of wave energy (and to a much lesser extent tidal and offshore wind energies) has been one of the dominant topics. The study of ocean energy conversion focused mainly on wave energy converters, with numerical theoretical/modelling of several types of devices, and PTOs (namely dual-chamber OWCs and hydrauliccircuit PTOs).

Since 2013, IST has been involved in the EUREC master course in Renewable Energy, offering a onesemester specialization in ocean energy. This took place in February to May 2015.




Pico Plant
On the Island of Pico, Azores, WavEC has been running, since 2004, an OWC wave energy pilot plant ( This plant was built in 1995-1998 with support from the European Commission. Pico OWC is a unique structure, allowing testing commercially-sized air turbines and auxiliary systems (up to ~700kW), as well as research studies on fatigue/corrosion problems in a very rough (real) environment for the equipment.

The plant is grid connected and has been permanently improved by WavEC with its own, minimal means. It has been providing operation data and training for young researchers.



AW-Energy has built a full scale test facility; it is situated in a workshop in Finland. It consists of a full scale hydraulic power production machine “sea side” and a full scale hydraulic Power Take-Off (PTO). Real measured wave data is fed into the control system of the machine. The behaviour of the WaveRoller panel is simulated and the output of the simulations are mechanical movements and forces which move the real full scale PTO and create hydraulic power and finally the generator produces electric power. The produced electricity is fed via frequency converter to the grid of the workshop. The quality and amount of the produced electricity can be measured. The functioning of the PTO system can be improved with the help of this new test machinery.



AW-Energy is further developing the WaveRoller wave energy converter. In 2016, AW-Energy is going to deploy a new full scale grid connected WaveRoller in Peniche, Portugal. The year 2015 was used for the engineering work of this new device. AW-Energy has worked with a certification body, Lloyd’s Register, which has given AW-Energy the Statement of Feasibility Certificate according to DNV RP-A203. The certification work continues towards type certification.

The Australian company, Bombora Wave Power, is planning its first real scale deployment to take place in Peniche. Feasibility studies have been initiated and during next year the company will apply for the licensing of a first experimental unit.



The proceedings of the First International Conference on Renewable Energies Offshore, that took place in Lisbon in 2014 (organized by CENTEC), were published in mid-2015. The Second Conference will take place also at IST in 2016 (the deadline for abstract submissions was 30 December 2015).

WavEC Annual Seminar entitled “Portugal and France - A driving force on research and innovation in Marine Renewable Energies” was organized in Lisbon on 16-17 November 2015 with the collaboration of the French Embassy in Portugal, and invited speakers from France.







The Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) policy is used as a decision making tool.

In March 2015, the Portuguese Law 38/2015 was created laying down the bases for the Planning and Management of the National Maritime Space (LBOGEM), defining the legal framework that allows for the implementation of marine spatial plans in the whole national maritime space, including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

The authorities involved in the consenting process are:

• Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA);
• Coordination Committee on Regional Development (CCDR);
• Energy and Geology Directorate-General (DGEG);
• Portuguese Electricity Utility (EDP).

Ocean energy projects in Portugal require the following licenses:

• License for water resources utilization – managed by the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA). This license is the main consent required and can be authorized through a license or concession:
- A license is required for devices deployed for less than one year and for installed capacity below or equal to 25 MW;
- A concession is mandatory for more lengthy time periods. In this case, a competitive public examination must be carried out, starting with a public announcement by the competent authority.
• Environmental license – managed by the Coordination Committee on Regional Development (CCDR), which is the regional authority;
• License for the power production or grid connection – a request made by the developer to the Portuguese Electricity Distribution (EDP);
• Building license for infrastructure on land (e.g. substation, cable routes) administered by the municipal council of the area where the project is to be installed.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not required if the project, including marine and terrestrial parts, is to be located outside the national ecological reserve, Natura 2000 sites and/or the national grid of protected areas.

However, this decision still has to be confirmed by the licensing authority. If any part of the installation is located in an ecological reserve, Natura 2000 or a protected area (within one of the previous location/sites), an Environmental Effects Assessment (EIncA) has to be performed. The EIncA is a less demanding administrative instrument than the so called EIA. The entity responsible for the decision on whether an EIA/EIncA is required is the CCDR if it is a license, or APA if it is a concession.

The baseline survey is usually made through desk based studies although some developers of the few projects that have been installed in Portugal have carried out some baseline studies as required in the declaration of the EIA.

Monitoring is usually part of the EIA declaration issued as part of the environmental license. In Portugal the onerous post-deployment monitoring have been required for some marine renewable energy projects. Evidences should be given in periodic reports that monitoring in being carried out, and its results are usually analyzed by the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICNF).

Whilst there is no over-arching dedicated consenting system for ocean energy, all the required consents have been adapted to better suit wave energy developments.

Decree Law 225/2007, of 31 May, amends previous legislation on electricity production to accommodate electricity production from renewable sources and establishes regulation on the EIA process for such kind of projects.

Consultation is usually required as part of the legal licensing process. It is usually made after the Environmental Impact Statement is delivered to the authorities for approval.

Advices are asked by the licensing authority to a number of statutory consultees namely Institute of Nature Conservation, port authorities and a number of public authorities responsible for marine resources management.

There are informal consultation activities implemented during the licensing process: usually developers prepare a number of informal public events to disseminate the project and collect the public feed-back on their activities at sea.

Some information on parts of the licensing process exists in the internet as part of the authorities’ website. However there is no compiled information on all process and the developer is usually the manager of the project licensing procedures.

Specific regulation for the Portuguese Pilot Zone – Ocean Plug – has been produced and provisionally approved by DGEG.