An agreement signed by Chilean and French officials in Paris this week will help Chile develop its Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center (MERIC).
The joint statement was signed by Chilean Minister of Energy Maximo Pacheco, Chilean economic development agency CORFO vice-president Eduardo Bitran and DCNS SA CEO Herve Guillou in the presence of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and French President Francois Hollande.
The agreement “illustrates the Chilean government’s commitment to co-finance the development of marine energy research and technology in Chile,” DCNS said, while also confirming the company’s status as a leader in wave and tidal energy development.
“The creation of MERIC will strengthen both the knowledge of Chilean actors in marine energy and DCNS know-how in site development and technology adaptation,” Guillou said. “Our ambition is to develop long-term partnerships with Chilean companies and universities in order to build a hub for innovation in marine energies in the country.”
The eight-year project is supported by approximately US$20 million in cash and in-kind funding. CORFO will provide significant money and expertise in the venture that will conduct research and development activities on marine hydrokinetics technology (MHK), taking into account the specific natural conditions of the Pacific Ocean in Chile.
“Chile has excellent natural conditions for the development of energy from the seas that we must seize,” Bitran said. “We have a great opportunity not only to investigate about marine energy, but to develop related industries and services with this technology. The agreement involves the government’s commitment to co-finance the development of applied research and technology in our country.”
MERIC will benefit from the support of the Chilean development organization Fundación Chile, the research and development foundation INRIA Chile, research institutions Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Austral de Chile, as well as Enel Group subsidiaries Chilectra and Endesa Chile.
By 2019, MERIC hopes to have experience and a consolidated infrastructure that may allow the organization to provide services to local and international industry interested in testing MHK technologies in the Chilean marine environment.
A 2009 study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) said Chile has a particularly high potential for wave and tidal energy development, with more than 4,000 kilometers of coast open to the Pacific ocean.
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