Country Reports


No relevant changes for ocean energy strategy have happened in Spain since 2011, when the Spanish Renewable Energy Plan 2011-2020 was approved. This plan included targets for ocean energy (100 MW of installed power by 2020) however, these targets seem now difficult to achieve due to the lack of specific supporting policies 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 60 MW by 2030.

Regarding the regulatory framework, no dedicated consenting process exists for ocean energy technologies in Spain but there are several legal documents affecting ocean energy projects:

  • The Royal Decree 1028/2007 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.
  • Law 2/2013, of 29 May, for protection and sustainable use of coastal and amending the previous Coastal Law of 1988. It provides the legal framework for occupation of the territorial sea, as well as governing issues affecting the fishing sector and safety conditions for maritime navigation.
  • Law 21/2013, of December 9th, establishes a simplified process on Environmental Impact Assessment for all marine energy projects


There are no specific market incentives for ocean energy in Spain but for renewable energy installations in general. In February 2017, the Ministry of Energy updated the retributive parameters of the electricity production from renewable energy sources in the context of the Law 24/2013 of the Electric Sector. The Mutriku wave power plant is receiving funding under this scheme which partially covers the investment already done and its operation.

In December 2017, the pre-commercial public procurement tender launched by EVE in 2014 reached to the end. This fact implies that OCEANTEC presented the results of the tests carried out in BiMEP and a “Due Diligence” that guarantees the completion of a technological level TRL6-7.

There are several R&D public funding programmes in Spain no specific for ocean energy but applicable in competition with other sectors. In addition, there are a couple of programmes more specific for ocean energy:

  • OCEANERA-NET COFUND is an initiative of eight national and regional government agencies from six European countries, which has received funding from the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation. The participating countries / regions are: the Basque Country, Brittany, Ireland, Pays de la Loire, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. The aim is to coordinate support for research and development in ocean energy, to encourage collaborative projects that tackle some of the key challenges identified for the sector as it progresses towards commercialisation. The project launched the first co-funded call during 2017 and approved projects are expected to start in 2018.
  • The Basque Energy Agency (EVE) launched a new call of its “Demonstration and validation of emerging marine renewable energy technologies” programme in 2017. As previous calls, the programme has a budget of 2,5 M€ for a maximum of 3-year duration projects,



The OPERA project, funded under the H2020 programme of the European Commission, presented the main achievements and lessons learnt during the first 18 months of project implementation in October 2017 to the European Commission. The project, under the coordination of TECNALIA, is making good progress in different aspects such as open-sea operating data collection and streaming, mooring loads assessment and reduction, power take-off reliability and performance, controls algorithms for reliability and performance, applicability and extension of IEC Technical Specifications, lifetime offshore logistics and risks management, cost of energy and overall assessment. The OPERA team received a very useful feedback from the European Commission and from the experts of its Advisory Board that will help improve the implementation of the project until its completion in July 2019. The project also received the Yoshio Masuda Memorial prize for its contribution to the 12th European Wave and Tidal Conference (EWTEC17) held in September in Cork, Ireland. The prize committee decided to award the OPERA consortium as a whole, since multiple high-quality conference publications were presented by IST, Edinburgh University, Exeter University and TECNALIA to inform about the progress in the development of OWC systems. Most of the project results are public and can be downloaded from the project website:

Three projects are running within the OCEANERA-NET programme with Spanish participation:

  • 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 is developing and testing 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.
  • 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, which are being tested at BiMEP open sea test facility
  • The project SE@PORTS deals with the use of breakwaters for wave energy development. Breakwaters are designed to withstand wave action and promote the dissipation of wave energy at the entrance of the seaport, creating sheltered conditions for port activities. The high potential of these structures for the integration of Wave Energy Converters, due to their high exposure to ocean waves, triggered the SE@PORTS project. This project intends to demonstrate this approach is a win-win solution for both breakwaters and WEC solutions in a large extent. This project consortium is composed by INEGI, UNIVERSITY OF PORTO, IH CANTABRIA, PLOCAN, IMDC, FORUM OCEANO.

2017 brought the launch of the first call for trans-national access to European offshore renewable energy test facilities within the MARINET2 project. This project, funded by the European Commission under the Research Infrastructure section of H2020, has the participation of 7 Spanish partners: BiMEP, CENER, CTC, EVE, IH Cantabria, PLOCAN and TECNALIA being the Marine Corrosion Test Site “El Bocal” of CTC one of the most required test facility in this first call.

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. This project produced a complete and useful report with the Metocean Analysis of BiMEP for Offshore Design in March 2017.

The project ORPHEO (2016-2018) awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness to analyse the profitability of hybrid floating platforms to harness the wind and wave energy has continued with the activity reaching the objectives planned for 2017. This project consortium is composed by INGETEAM, ENEROCEAN, University of Cadiz, University of Malaga and PLOCAN.

Rotary Wave obtained funding of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement No 774021, within an instrument to support SMEs. The phase 1 was completed in 2017 to study the development and market uptake of an innovative system to obtain electrical energy from ocean wave resources. In addition, Rotary Wave obtained in December of 2017, an Innoglobal project to study the feasibility of implementation of a Butterfly WEC in Colombia and regional funds from IVACE (Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness):

  • CREATEC (Projects from Creation of technology-based companies) to design and develop a mechanical test bench to prove mechanical components of Wave energy converters devices,
  • I+D PYME (R&D programme for SMEs), to increase the capture of power of Butterfly WEC Floats
  • International programme, to develop the market study of Butterfly WEC.

During 2017, SENER has carried out two test campaigns in order to calibrate SENERWave, a software designed internally to simulate floating and fixed devices in real sea conditions, which allows the optimization of devices and arrays, as well as the calculation of project costs, including LCOE, for each location. First tests were made in the TOD tank that is located in the Universidad de Cantabria in May, while the second campaign was carried out throughout MARINET2 funds in the LiR facility in Cork, Ireland.


SENER Tank testing campaign in Cantabria

SENER has also defined and presented in several conferences a methodology to calibrate numerical models with data obtained from tank testing.

These works have been made in collaboration with the Instituto Superior Tecnico de Lisboa.

Finally, SENER has also finished completely the work that it has been developing for BiMEP as part of the engineering of the property contract awarded by EVE.


39539-sp-2.jpgSENER Tank testing campaign in Cork

The University of the Basque Country, TECNALIA and BCAM (the Basque Centre for Applied Mathematics) signed, in November 2017, a collaboration agreement between the three organisations to set up a Joint Research Lab on Offshore Renewable Energy. The main goal of the initiative is to increase organizations’ international visibility, facilitate technology and knowledge transfer to the Basque industry, and to train future professionals for the offshore renewable energy sector. Connected to this initiative, a Master in Offshore Renewable Energy was established and approved by the European Commission as an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course in 2017. The Master is led by the University ofa the Basque Country in collaboration with NTNU (Norway), Strathclyde University (Scotland) and Ecole Central Nantes (France) plus the support of some 40 entities from all over Europe.

Wedge Global, jointly with CTC and DEGIMA has been developing SMARTWEC Project, aiming at optimizing wave energy converters point absorber type by increasing offshore reliability and energy output. The project has been funded by SODERCAN (Cantabria Regional Government) with the objective of developing a strategy for the supply of wave energy devices from Cantabria to the main potential markets, as well as to analyse the technical-economic viability of a wave energy farm off the Cantabrian coast.




BiMEP is an open sea test area located off the coast of Armintza, in the province of Bizkaia. Operating since June 2015, BiMEP offers technology developers an offshore area with suitable wave and wind resources, thereby enabling the demonstration and validation of the technical and economic viability of different concepts of energy converters, equipment and materials prior to commercial development.

BIMEP hosts the first floating wave energy device connected to the grid in Spain (more information about this project in the next section about operational projects). Other test campaigns were carried out at BiMEP in 2017:

  • the oceanographic buoy ANTEIA, developed by the company ZUNIBAL, has been tested at BIMEP obtaining very good results to collect, in real time, height, direction and period data, as well as the water temperature;
  • DITREL has completed the survivability trials of its electric subsea connector Konekta2 after 6 months installed at BIMEP. Konekta2 can be used to connect and disconnect different types of energy converters in the marine environment.
  • IK4-AZTERLAN and TECNALIA also developed some material tests, the former under the OCEANIC project funded by OCEANERA-NET.


ZUNIBAL oceanographic buoy (left) and DITREL subsea connector (right) tested at BIMEP.

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. Two of the air chambers are prepared to test OWC components (air turbines, electrical generators, power converters and control systems). During 2017, the Portuguese company Kymaner tested its bi-radial air turbine. This novel turbine was completely designed and manufactured in Portugal, with a total investment value of circa € 1 m, and represents the culmination of the development of a patent originated in IST, protected in several countries interested in wave energy. The turbine prototype has been specifically developed and tested under the EU project OPERA. Mutriku wave power plant has also adapted its premises to better host technology developers during their tests.

PLOCAN, in the Canary Islands, offers a test site for marine energy converters among other uses. It includes an offshore multipurpose platform providing workshops, laboratories, classrooms, training rooms and open working areas around a test tank to facilitate sea trials and launching vehicle to the sea. PLOCAN is developing the Project REDSUB (2017-2019), awarded by the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020 co-funded by European Regional Development Fund. This project, entitled “Electricity grid to provide support for experimenting and testing new technologies that use marine energy resources to generate electricity and for connecting technologies for observation at increasing depths”, consists of conducting a series of activities that range from the design, acquisition and installation, to the commissioning of a sea-to-shore electricity grid and data network in the area of the maritime-terrestrial public domain reserved for the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. The electrical system to be installed is comprised of medium-voltage wiring and it will be designed, fitted and sized to carry an initial maximum of up to 15 MW to shore. Most of this comprises an underwater cable, connectors and auxiliary electrical equipment (marine electrical system), which will be laid from the area of the PLOCAN reserve at sea to the sectioning and protection centre located on the coast, which will allow electrical protection between the 13.2 KV substation and the devices connected at sea. The transition of the wiring from underwater to terrestrial wiring will be done at this centre, which will connect to a shore-based sub-station to feed the electricity into the distribution grid (terrestrial electricity system). The installation of two submarine cables (5 MW/13,2 kV) started in 2017 and, depending on the weather conditions, is expected to be fully commissioned during the first semester of 2018.

The Mutriku wave power plant has completed six years of continuous operation reaching a record of cumulative energy from waves powered to the grid of almost 1.5 GWh. As mentioned in the previous section, it is also being used as a test site for OWC components.

Following the deployment of the MARMOK-A-5 device in October 2016 by the Basque company Oceantec Energías Marinas and later commissioning work, the first kW was injected into the grid on 13th December 2016. Hence, the wave energy device celebrated in 2017 its first anniversary in the water at BiMEP test site. During this thrilling year, MARMOK-A-5 has demonstrated survivability in winter seas up to 12 m maximum wave height and displayed increasing availability reaching 85% at present. The research team has been able to gain 1,000 h experience in operation and maintenance as well as confidence in its power performance and mooring system robustness. MARMOK-A-5 is prepared for its second winter in a row at BiMEP. In spring 2018, it will be towed in for refitting and integration of the different innovations that have been developed in the OPERA project. Then it will be returned to it mooring site to collect more data for benchmarking. Prototype development has received funding from the Basque Energy Agency under a Pre-Commercial Procurement Contract.


        MARMOK-A-5 wave energy device at BIMEP                                                                              W1 wave energy device at PLOCAN test site in the Canary Islands

UNDIGEN+ Project is a wave energy conversion demonstration project based on the industrial-scale W1 (WEC by Wedge technology), and it is the continuation of UNDIGEN Project, accumulating roughly 4 years, continuously in the Atlantic Ocean, of the W1 wave energy converter. The W1 system configures itself as an axisymmetric resonant point absorber with an innovative direct drive power take-off (linear generator) by applying & validating the continuous R&D activity developed in wave energy (technology development & testing) for more than ten years. The W1 system has been testing at PLOCAN site in the Canary Islands. UNDIGEN+ is a demonstration project partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, led by the Spanish tech-company Wedge Global in collaboration with SAES, CIEMAT and PLOCAN which has concluded by the end of 2017.

Galicia-based Magallanes Renovables finished its 2 MW floating platform in April 2017 and by the end of summer was moored in the bay of Vigo where Magallanes has started its mooring and towing tests (to simulate sea currents) in order to make the set-up and check all the devices worked properly.

After winter time, the platform of Magallanes will be towed to EMEC in Scotland where it will be connected to the grid to start producing electricity. This test will allow the company to validate the technology, study O&M costs and approach the market.

Magallanes floating tidal device launching

A wave-pumped desalination project is expected to be installed in 2018 at PLOCAN. This project is promoted by the company Tveter Power based on a point absorber wave energy converter. PLOCAN is also expecting to see two offshore wind projects deployed by ESTEYCO (ELICAN project) and ENEROCEAN (WIP10+ project).



The third edition of the Marine Energy Week took place in Bilbao in the last week of March 2017. For the first time and together with Sinaval International Shipbuilding, Future Port Bilbao, and Eurosifhing conferences, four of them were celebrated under a bigger event named WMW – World Maritime Week. The conference, organized by EVE, TECNALIA and the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, brought 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 with WMW, including networking and B2B spaces.

The Wave Energy Basque Country group supported the organization of the Ocean Energy Europe 2017 conference in Nantes with a silver sponsorship.

APPA-Marina, jointly with the Naval Engineering School of Madrid organized the third edition of the National Annual Conference on Marine Renewable Energy in Madrid in November 2017. 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 Spanish Association of Marine and Offshore Engineers (AINE, as it is known in Spanish) organised the 8th edition of ENERMAR in June at PLOCAN onshore offices in Taliarte (Telde), on the island of Gran Canaria, entitled “The sea and renewable energies: the contribution of Marine and Off-shore Engineering”. The event was attended by more than 70 professionals.

The Marine Renewable Energy working group of the Atlantic Arc Commission was created in 2010 at the initiative of Cantabria that chaired it until 2013. The Basque Government took over the presidency of the group in 2017. The creation of this group is the result of the growing interest for MRE in the Atlantic for environmental (cleaner energy) and economic (high potential, creation of jobs and growth) purposes. The aim of the group is twofold: ensure a legal monitoring in the field of MRE; bringing together the MRE stakeholders.


There is no specific Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) 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 authorities involved in the consenting process are:

• 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;
• The Ministry of Development, through the Merchant Navy Directorate-General – authorizes the precise activities when they affect maritime safety, navigation and human life at sea;
• In case of public ports occupation, the competent port authority shall grant authorization or concession;
• Regional governments can participate in the process depending on their competences. In particular, regional governments (there are 17 in Spain) are the decision-making bodies when the site is in internal sea areas (i.e. sea areas lying between two capes).

The total time needed to obtain approval is approximately two years but this timeframe varies between projects.

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.

An EIA is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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.

In Spain, no dedicated consenting process exists ocean energy technologies.

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:
- Request for Administrative Authorization (AA) – refers to the project’s draft installation plan as a technical document;
- Project Execution Approval (AEP) – refers to the commissioning of the specific project and allows the applicant to start construction;
- Exploitation Authorization (EA) – allows the installations, once the project is installed, to be powered up and proceed to commercial exploitation.
• Law 21/2013, of 9 December, on Environmental Impact Assessment;
• Law 2/2013, of 29 May, for protection and sustainable coastal use and amending the previous Coastal Law of 1998. It provides the legal framework for occupation of the territorial sea, as well as governing issues affecting the fishing sector and safety conditions for maritime navigation. Management and surveillance competences relating to the Public Maritime Domain on Land (MTPD), which includes the territorial sea, rest with the General Council on Coast and Ocean Sustainability which forms part of the Ministry of rural, Marine and Natural Environment. Coastal Demarcation Departments are their representatives in each coastal province and Autonomous Community. Therefore, the development of electric power projects in the territorial sea must comply with the legal requirements governing the administrative process for granting titles to territorial occupation (prior to and during the project development) and associated arrangements (e.g. deadlines, transfers and expiry.

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;
• Royal Decree 1028/2007 – it is simplified for ocean energy since a competitive procedure between promoters (which applied for offshore wind) is not considered for ocean energy.

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.

It is clear to applicants what permits are required, in what order and what information must be supplied at what time, but no specific guideline (single document) is available for developers.

Deployment at Bimep is already pre-consented so developers do not have to submit a full application comprising all the typical consents providing certain initial conditions are met.