Spanish utility Iberdrola S.A., French energy company Total S.A., and Anglo-American wave power developer Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) have taken the first step in a joint venture to begin deployment of wave energy generators off the coasts of Spain and, eventually, France.
Joint venture company Iberdrola Energias Marinas de Cantabria S.A. (IEMC) signed a turnkey contract in July with OPT to build the first phase of the 1.25-MW Cantabria wave power plant off Santona in Spain’s Cantabria Region.
Employing OPT’s PowerBuoy technology, the 3 million euro (US$3.8 million) investment will include 10 buoys anchored on the seabed that convert wave energy into electricity. OPT already completed system design, characterization of the deployment site, assessment of wave energy resources, and determination of a transmission cable route under a preliminary agreement signed in 2004.
Iberdrola, one of the world’s leading renewable energy developers, said the agreement not only calls for training Spanish communities to build the equipment, but is to lead to development of additional wave power sites off Spain and France.
IEMC is a joint venture of Iberdrola, with 60 percent; Total, 10 percent; OPT, 10 percent; the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), 10 percent; and the Company for Development of Cantabria (SODERCAN), 10 percent.
Iberdrola said the Spanish utility has signed an agreement with Total and OPT to develop wave energy installations in France. In the first phase, the three companies are to seek possible locations along the French coast and are to obtain administrative authorizations and permits needed to carry out a French pilot project.