AZTI and Basque province team up for faster marine renewables uptake

The AZTI technology center has teamed up with Basque’s Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa to create a guide that could facilitate the implementation of marine renewable energy initiatives.

Photo Illustration of Marmok wave energy device deployed off Basque coast (Courtesy of EVE)
Illustration/Marmok-A5 wave energy device deployed off Basque coast (Courtesy of EVE)

The AZTI center is preparing a guide which incorporates the environmental variable with a focus on risk analysis and adaptive management to facilitate the administrative processing of marine renewable energy projects.

Namely, the Basque Energy Strategy plan – EnergiBasque – indicates that thanks to wave energy and wind power in the open sea, the energy demand of the Basque Country could be supplied by new more sustainable sources.

However, although the technological development of the devices is growing rapidly, the complex and lengthy approval processes of marine renewable energy projects, as well as the existing uncertainties and misconceptions, are presented as the biggest stumbling block that could hamper future development of this type of energy in the European Union, according to AZTI.

That is why, at the request of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, a multidisciplinary team of experts from AZTI has been formed to develop a guide to facilitate the approval of marine renewable energy projects.

“The administration technicians will be provided with better criteria and knowledge to be able to propose the appropriate measures in relation to environmental risk, and promote a better knowledge of the procedures they must follow and the times required for it”, said Juan Bald, an AZTI expert who’s coordinating the development of the guide.

The guide will be based on the adaptive management approach based on risk, meaning it will continuously incorporate the new knowledge learned, in a way that allows renewable energy projects to adapt monitoring and mitigation practices over time, according to AZTI.

“This adaptive approach leads to improved decision-making by reducing the uncertainty associated with the environmental impacts of these technologies”, Bald said.

In addition, it is in line with what is established in the strategic roadmap for ocean energy “Building Ocean Energy for Europe” (2016), which identified the objective of reducing the risk associated with environmental approval procedures as a key challenge.

“The results obtained will allow the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa to contribute to the sustainable development of marine renewable energies, in a complex environment due to the number of activities and actors involved in the marine environment of this province”, concluded Bald.