Swedish wave energy developer CorPower Ocean has joined an elite panel of marine energy experts in Viana do Castelo, northern Portugal, to discuss the region’s ambitious plan to become an epicentre for offshore renewables.
The Alto Minho region is positioning itself to receive a series of major marine energy investments, taking advantage of the ‘great production potential’ from the Atlantic coast.
The municipality is reported to have been approached by several companies pledging investments totalling circa €1 billion to create new marine renewable projects, driving job creation across shipbuilding, metalworking and many other supply chains, according to CorPower Ocean.
Plans are also underway to complete the installation of an International Offshore Energy Testing Centre by 2026, funded by the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Program (PRR) to help underpin the surge in activity.
The centre will not only service companies, but also act as a knowledge repository for universities, polytechnics, research laboratories.
The recent international conference on Offshore Renewable Energy and Challenges of Decarbonisation was organised by Viana do Castelo Mayor José Maria da Cunha Costa.
CorPower’s country manager for Portugal Miguel Silva joined representatives from Ocean Winds, an alliance between EDP Renováveis and Engie, Spain’s Acciona Energia, Germany’s Baywa R.E., France’s Total, and Danish turbine producer Vestas.
Aside from significant natural environmental benefits, other key attractions to the north Portuguese coast include a strong and firmly established skills base in metalworking and naval industries, including the construction and chartering of support vessels and maintenance of future offshore platforms.
The region is particularly well positioned for wind, wave and solar power projects, and with the fast-changing energy paradigm increasing attention is being placed on renewable energy’s future role in green hydrogen production, CorPower Ocean said.
The location also has enormous potential for the scientific community, as a reference space at European level, for studies linked to biodiversity and other research areas.
In summer 2020, CorPower Ocean invested a further €16 million to construct a Manufacturing, R&D and Service Centre in the sea port, for the production of wave energy converters, following a deal with Administration Ports of Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo (APDL).
The site is also now the focus of CorPower’s flagship HiWave-5 project, involving its first commercial scale demonstration.
In addition, the EU funded ‘Atlantis Project’ also launched in the region, to propel the development of underwater robotics for the monitoring and treatment of offshore industries.
CorPower’s Miguel Silva said: “We have been working closely with authorities in Viana do Castelo since establishing the region as our operational base for the flagship HiWave-5 Project. We feel particularly energized to be operating in Viana do Castelo given the considerable interest to build on its obvious potential and create a world-leading offshore energy testing hub.
“Wave energy will play a vital role in the future green energy mix due to its complementary production profile to wind and solar. In this respect there is significant interest in the development a hybridized system with WindFloat Atlantic and creating the first 10MW combined wave and wind array off Viana do Castelo”.
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