2016 has seen the first floating wave energy device connected to the grid in Spain. The so called MARMOK-A-5 device, developed by OCEANTEC, was deployed in October at BiMEP and grid connected, delivering the first kWh in December.
The technology development has been supported by EVE (the Basque Energy Agency) under a Pre-commercial Procurement Contract and the testing activities at BiMEP are also part of the European project OPERA, led by TECNALIA. Another milestone in 2016 has been the installation of an offshore platform at PLOCAN, which together with the electrical infrastructure expected in early 2017 will allow PLOCAN to be fully operational during the first semester of 2017.
One Spanish region has defined specific strategies and targets for ocean energy: The Basque Government approved in 2016 its Energy Strategy for 2030, which included a specific initiative to speed up technology and commercial development for marine energy and set a target of 60MW by 2030.
In February 2016, a consortium led by TECNALIA in partnership with University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University College Cork, Instituto Superior Técnico, OCEANTEC, EVE, BiMEP, Global Maritime, Iberdrola, Kymaner and DNV-GL kicked off the OPERA project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. The project entitled “Open Sea Operating Experience to Reduce Wave Energy Cost” will collect and share two years of open sea operating data of the floating OWC wave energy converter developed by Oceantec and already installed at BiMEP.
In addition, OPERA will be the first open sea experience for four cost-reducing innovations that will be advanced from TRL3-4 to TRL5. Together, these four innovations have a long-term cost reduction potential of over 50%. These are: an efficient turbine, latching and predictive control, a shared mooring system for wave energy similar to those that have reduced mooring costs in aquaculture and an elastomeric mooring tether that reduces peak loads at the hull-mooring connection and thus addresses one of the most pressing challenges for structural survivability of wave energy devices.
Documenting and sharing this open sea experience will also induce a step-change in the knowledge of risk and uncertainties, costs and societal and environmental impacts of wave energy. The consortium brings together world leaders in wave energy research, the IPR owners and most advanced teams to exploit each of these innovations.
Within the OCEANERA-NET programme, TECNALIA is leading a consortium with other partners from Spain (Zunibal, Ditrel and Basque Energy Cluster), Portugal (WavEC), Ireland (Smartbay) and UK (ORE Catapult). The so called RECODE project aims to answer the challenge of identifying common components in ocean energy technologies by developing a set of industry-enabling cost effective components, specifically designed for reliable and sustainable delivery of ocean energy. These components comprise a safety monitoring and control device, a wave measurement buoy, an umbilical cable monitoring device and an underwater device-to-cable connector for a floating energy converter.
Also under OCEANERA-NET, IK4-Azterlan, IK4-Gaiker and Mikra Recubrimientos S.L. are working together on the OCEANIC project focused on the development of corrosion and fouling resistant coatings for ocean energy structures.
The end of 2016 brought the approval and contract signature of the MARINET2 project, funded by the European Commission under the Research Infrastructure section of H2020. MARINE2 will continue the success of MARINET project, ensuring the integration and enhancement of all leading European research infrastructure and facilities specialising in research, development and testing of offshore renewable energy systems including electrical sub systems and grid integration through a range of TRLs (1-7). The project is expected to start in early 2017 with the participation of 7 Spanish partners: BiMEP, CENER, CTC, EVE, IH Cantabria, PLOCAN and TECNALIA.
TECNALIA is leading the project ICERMAR, funded by the Basque Government, in collaboration with the University of the Basque Country and the Basque Centre for Applied Mathematics to coordinate research efforts in the field of marine renewable energy (ocean energy and offshore wind). Six research lines have been under development during 2016: development of new modelling tools; new PTO concepts for OWC wave energy devices; corrosion, fatigue and anti-fouling materials, mooring systems and electrical connections, performance assessment and environmental issues.
TRL+ is a “Retos-Colaboración” project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within which BiMEP and IH Cantabria collaborate to enhance technological and scientific solutions for marine renewable energy in deep and very deep waters with a market oriented approach and supporting industry needs.
The project DESAL+ has been awarded within an INTERREG-MAC call, where PLOCAN will analyse the potential use of wave energy in desalination process.
During the last years, SENER has carried out two lines of work: one consisting of the development and design of its own technology (based on the OWC principle) and main equipment (air turbine and check valves), and another line where SENER has developed its own software for simulating, design and calculation of wave energy converters and farms, which allows the optimization of devices and arrays, as well as the calculation of project costs, including LCOE, for each location.
Within an individual R&D programme, Rotary Wave, a Spanish technological start up, received €600.000 funding from CDTI to research and develop the Butterfly WEC device, which uses wave energy to obtain electricity and desalinated water. As a first step, Rotary Wave tested and validated a 1:13 scaled device in A Coruña University’s Wave Tank in order to obtain TRL4. In these tests, the Butterfly device showed its capacity to produce power (120 kW equivalents with 3 m real waves) in addition to good stability and survivability conditions.
OPEN SEA TEST SITES
The Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP), promoted by EVE and IDAE, is in operation since its inauguration in July 2015. BiMEP is an open sea test centre of 5.2 km2, restricted to sea traffic, with depths going from 50 to 90 m. It is located in an area with high energy potential (21 kW/m) and its proximity to the nearest port (1 nmi) guarantees fast access.
The area has a strong and nearby coastal utility grid (132 kV-20 MW capacity). BiMEP is equipped with four berths of 13,2 kV/5 MW each connected to the grid, environmental monitoring services and 24/7 surveillance and emergency response. BiMEP hosts the first floating wave energy device connected to the grid in Spain (more information about this project in section 5 about Technology Demonstration). There are other projects that are carrying out trials at BiMEP but without grid connection. This is the case of ZUNIBAL S.L. that is testing the ANTEIA low cost metocean buoys.
Mutriku wave power plant is the first multi-turbine wave energy facility in the world. It is integrated with the breakwater of Mutriku (Basque Country) and based on the OWC (Oscillating Water Column) principle. It has 16 air chambers and 16 sets of “Wells turbines + electrical generator” of 18.5 kW each. The plant was connected to the grid in July 2011. One of the air chambers is prepared to test OWC components (air turbines, electrical generators, power converters and control systems) and has been used by Oceantec to test its air turbines before installing them in the MARMOK-A-5 device at BiMEP.
PLOCAN offers a test site for marine energy converters among other uses. It includes an offshore platform, which has recently been fixed to the seabed at the north-east of Gran Canaria Island: 1.5 km from shore at 30 m depth. Following successful completion of the mooring procedure, the operation was completed on 1 December, leaving the platform resting on a previously prepared base on the seabed. The platform is a multipurpose infrastructure providing workshops, laboratories, classrooms, training rooms and open working areas around a test tank to facilitate sea trials and launching vehicle to the sea. It is expected to be fully operational during the first semester of 2017. Two submarine medium voltage cables are expected to be installed in the first quarter of 2017, which will allow delivering the electricity generated by devices under testing offshore. The initial capacity is set up at 15 MW with a future extension planned up to 50 MW by 2020. Three wave energy devices have already been tested at PLOCAN without grid connection (Wedge, Wello and Pipo System). PLOCAN is also hosting offshore wind demonstration projects such as the ELICAN project led by the Spanish company ESTEYCO: a 5 MW offshore wind turbine prototype will be installed in 2017 over a telescopic mast with a gravity based mooring.
The Basque company Oceantec Energías Marinas, promoted by TECNALIA and Iberdrola, has recently deployed its first Wave Energy Converter (WEC) at BiMEP. The transport to site operation of the WEC, so-called MARMOK-A-5, and its installation at BiMEP was completed on 12 October. Oceantec has been working on the development of its own wave energy conversion technology over the last 4 years. It is a point absorber based on the Oscillating Water Column (OWC) principle. The prototype installed at BiMEP resembles a large floating buoy of 5 metres in diameter, 42 metres in length and 80 tonnes weight. The generating system comprises two air turbines located in the upper part of the device with a rated capacity of 30 kW. The turbines were previously tested at Mutriku wave power plant. The device was connected to the grid in early December delivering the first kWh on 13 December. The technology development has been supported by the Basque Energy Agency – Ente Vasco de la Energía (EVE) under a Pre-commercial Procurement Contract. The testing activities of the WEC are also part of the European project OPERA, already mentioned in the previous section.
After wave tank testing, Rotary Wave has developed a higher scale device (1:4) to demonstrate the Butterfly technology in a relevant environment (Mediterranean Sea). The device was designed to provide 10 kW and from the experiences obtained, study data of power was around 7 kW. The Butterfly device was tested in Pobla de Farnals (Valencia,Spain), where local average waves are around 0.5 m, therefore the power obtained was a successful result. The project was finished in September (2016) with outstanding and promising results.
Galicia-based Magallanes Renovables expects to start testing a 2 MW prototype of a floating platform with submerged tidal turbines in February 2017. This will start in a location near Vigo, before being transferred to EMEC in Scotland. There they will study the equipment under real operating conditions over a period of one year.
ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones, in collaboration with the Commercial Office of Spain in London, organized for the first time a Spanish space in ICOE (the International Conference on Ocean Energy), which celebrated its sixth edition in February 2016 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Spanish institutional participation, led by APPA Marina, occupied an area of 18 m2 with the following participants: APPA Marina, BiMEP, IH Cantabria, PLOCAN, Rotary Wave and TECNALIA.
APPA-Marina, jointly with the Naval Engineering School of Madrid and CME (Spanish Maritime Cluster), organized the second edition of the National Annual Conference on Marine Renewable Energy in Madrid in November 2016. Test centre representatives, Government officials, researchers and industry leaders provided an in-depth coverage of the current and future industry, highlighting specific areas of growth as well as the latest technological developments in Spain.
APPA-Marina, founded in 2006, is formed by the main Spanish stakeholders working on ocean energy and offshore wind. Its main objective is to bring together Central and Regional Governments, R&D institutions and industrial companies interested in the development of marine renewable energy.
The third edition of the Marine Energy Week has been announced to be held in Bilbao in the last week of March 2017. This event, organized by EVE, TECNALIA and the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, will bring experts from leading agents, companies, researchers and decision-makers involved in the offshore wind and ocean energy sectors. Marine Energy Week comprises international project meetings, technical visits, a poster session focused on research activities, an industrial workshop on offshore wind supply chain, an offshore wind conference, an ocean energy conference and an exhibition area integrated in a wider event about maritime aspects including networking and B2B spaces.
MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING POLICY
Pre-selected areas for ocean energy development have not been defined. Site selection is carried out on a case-by-case analysis. In the Basque country, in the case of Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BIMEP), a MSP approach was used for selecting the site.
• The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through the Coasts Directorate-General – is in charge of the authorizations and concessions regarding the occupation of maritime-terrestrial areas. This ministry will also act as the decision making body for all the environmental aspects;
For instance, consenting of BIMEP started in July 2008 and ended in 2012 with the concession of marine-terrestrial public domain and the authorization for project execution. In contrast, the consenting of the Mutriku wave power plant took less than two years as it is located onshore and consequently was subject to the consenting process applicable for an ‘ordinary’ renewable energy plant. The reason for such time variability to obtain the final consent is attributed to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required or not.
The new EIA law in Spain since 2013 aims to reduce the time scale needed for obtaining the Environmental Authorization, establishing a time period of no more than 4 months, or 6 months if there are justified reasons, thus reducing significantly the time needed for this consenting process which was about 3 to 24 months according to the previous law from 2008.
The Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, through the Energy Policy and Mines Directorate-General, is the decision-making body and it is responsible for granting the administrative authorization. However, in practice, there are more bodies involved in the process and developers need to deal with them.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
According to Law 21/2013, of 9 December, all projects devoted to the production of energy on the marine environment are subject to be evaluated through a simplified environmental impact assessment process. The entity responsible for the decision on whether an EIA is required or not is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
There are not too many experiences related with EIA baseline and post-monitoring steps. The most interesting case can be BIMEP where an environmental monitoring plan was carried out. For example, this included monitoring activities during the installation of the electrical cables.
LEGISLATION AND REGULATION
The consenting process is based on three main legal instruments that are briefly outlined here.
• Royal Decree 1028/2007, of 20 July – establishes the administrative procedure for processing applications for electricity generating facilities in territorial waters. Although it focuses on offshore wind, it also includes electricity generation from other marine renewable technologies (Article 32). This Decree foresees a simplified procedure governed by Royal Decree 1955/2000, of 1 December, which provides that construction, extension, modification and exploitation of all electric installations listed (in Article 111) require the following administrative procedures and sanctions to be followed:
Legislation and regulation that have been adapted to better suit ocean energy:
• The new law for EIA substantially reduces the time for obtaining the Environmental Impact Authorization;
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.
GUIDANCE AND ADVICE