The European Union backs the Basque marine energy strategy
• The biennal Bilbao Marine Energy Week ended its 2013 congress having exceeded expectations, with over 550 delegates from technology companies throughout Europe, and plans to increase the number of congress days for its next edition in 2015.
• The Basque Country is a benchmark in driving technology research and development to use the sea as an energy source.
• The bimep research platform located off the coast of Bizkaia will be a prerequisite step for technology development companies from around the world to test their marine devices in real conditions.
Bilbao Marine Energy Week today brought the plenary sessions to an end with a session on marine energy, dedicated to outlining the latest advances in technologies to use the waves and currents as an energy source. Over 550 representatives from leading companies in marine technology development attended the Congress. Thanks to its success, the 2015 congress will be extended to three days.
Elaine Miller, commissioner of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, gave the keynote paper in the opening session, where she stressed Europe's leadership in the field of marine energy. The majority of the projects regarding this energy source around the world are located in Europe and European companies are the ones that are investing own resources in the research and development of technology capable of using wave energy efficiently and profitably.
The European representative pointed out that the European Commission is currently immersed in developing legislation to facilitate a framework conducive for the evolution of marine energy with Europe as the global focus and leader. This confirms the policy followed in the Basque Country to develop an industry around renewable marine energy that generates more knowledge, renewable energy, along with wealth and jobs. This community legislation seeks to facilitate the funding of the investments and cost reduction, the two main challenges facing this energy source.
Accordingly, José Luis Villate, Director of the TECNALIA Marine Energy Department and representative of the International Marine Energy Agency, stressed the perspectives that marine energies could achieve by 2050. According to the analysis of this inter-institutional organisation, they could reach 337 GW installed and create up to 1,000,000 jobs worldwide. This is a comparable deployment in size and importance to that experience by land wind power between 1990 and 2005. Therefore, he stressed the need for a stable funding structure and the development of technology with an acceptable degree of competitiveness in terms of costs.
The Basque Company is committed to leading this line of research and knowledge generation of technology in marine energy to boost the industry of the energy sector. Javier Marqués, Director of the Renewable Energies Department of the Ente Vasco de la Energía (Basque Energy Board), described the progress in the setting up of the bimep, the marine infrastructure located in Lemoiz-Armintza, a benchmark in offshore research into marine appliances. The installation of the underwater cables will be completed this summer and it is expected to be operational at the end of 2013. The infrastructure will be at the service of any company that develops marine technology and floating marine infrastructures from anywhere in the world that need to test and try out their technology in a test field under real marine conditions. The Basque Country will therefore be a prerequisite step for any company wanting to test and try out its technology.
The 2013 Bilbao Marine Energy Week ended with exceptional results in terms of the expert speakers and participants in the two plenary sessions, along with the number of delegates and company representatives that attended the event. The Congress, overall, was attended by 550 company delegates from throughout Europe, along with the professionals from SINAVAL-ELITE, of which the congress is a part, and which showcased the main advances in the marine energy and shipping sector.
A synergy between two sectors that are fully implemented in the Basque Country as are the shipping and energy ones, which in the coming years are going to find new channels for collaboration thanks to the marine energies - both marine wind power and wave energy.
The outcome of this success is that the Congress organisers are considering that the 2015 event will be extended to include a third day with marine energies as the focus and with the Basque Country as one of the main European benchmarks in their development.