Spain has unveiled plans to develop up to 60MW of marine energy and up to 3GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2030 in a roadmap released by the country’s Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

Illustration/Wave energy device from Spanish-based developer Arrecife Energy Systems (Courtesy of Arrecife Energy Systems)
Illustration/Wave energy device from Spanish-based developer Arrecife Energy Systems (Courtesy of Arrecife Energy Systems)

The roadmap for the development of offshore wind and marine energies, mainly tidal and wave, in Spain aims to guide and decisively promote the full development of short, medium and long-term potential of these resources.

The roadmap is said to be fully aligned with the European strategy for offshore renewable energy, released in November 2020, with an aim to bring Europe’s offshore wind capacity to at least 60GW, and marine energies (floating wind and solar included) to at least 1GW by 2030.

The roadmap for Spain, open for public consultation until 6 August 2021, lays out four objectives and most appropriate lines of action to achieve them.

One of suggested approaches proposes the mobilization of at least €200 million of public funds to support the technical innovation in the sector from 2021 until 2023.

This is also expected to contribute to establishing Spain as a European reference point for the technological development, R&D and innovation for new technologies, and subsequent testing of new prototypes.

According to the roadmap, the development of marine renewable energies in Spain will not only contribute to growing the sector’s supply chain market in the country, but will also strengthen its competitiveness worldwide.

The growth of the offshore renewable energy sector in Spain is also expected to increase its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the creation of new jobs in the country, the roadmap states.

“The approaches contained in this roadmap pursue a progressive and orderly implementation, coordinated and compatible with the different uses of the maritime space and prioritizing the protection of the maritime and coastal natural heritage.

With this, the implementation of this roadmap will not only contribute to achieving the energy and climate objectives of Spain and the EU for 2030, but also to face the greatest challenge of climate neutrality of the economy by 2050”, it is stated in the roadmap.

When it comes to marine energy resources in Spain, wave energy is said to have the most viable resources for large-scale developments.

Regarding the potential, Galicia has the highest values, with estimated average power production potential estimated to be between 40-45 kW/m.

On the second place, the Cantabrian Sea offers around 30kW/m of potential extractable energy, followed by the northern parts of the Canary Islands with 20 kW/m of available power.

For in-stream tidal energy, the areas with the greatest potential in Spain are limited to the areas of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Galician currents, which can reach the flow speeds necessary for the operation of these devices.

Tidal range and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) technologies have been excluded from the roadmap due to the lack of suitable resources for their development.

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