The site was commissioned in 2011
- Mutriku has now been in continuous operation for longer than any other wave energy plant in the world. It also holds the record for most electricity produced and most accumulated hours in operation and is a key benchmark in the global marine energy industry.
- All electricity generated renewably at the site is fed directly to the grid. In one year it can meet the power requirements of approximately one hundred households.
- Mutriku also is also an important link in the chain of research into new turbines and monitoring systems, acting as a first step before floating devices are tested on the open sea, thus cutting expenditure on R&D.
The Mutriku Wave Energy Plant has reached a new output milestone, having generated an accumulated figure of 2,000,000 kWh — a feat never before achieved by any wave power facility.
Opened in 2011, the commercially operative facility generates electricity on an uninterrupted basis, harnessing the rise and fall of the waves. All the power produced —equivalent to the consumption of nearly one hundred families— is sold to the grid. Mutriku now holds the record for longest time in service, most electricity generated, most electricity sold and most accumulated operating hours and availability. In 2016, five years after it was commissioned, Mutriku became the first facility of its kind to have produced one gigawatt hours.
While this production figure is still modest compared to other more mature generating technologies (such as wind power and combined cycles), it is the first time it has been achieved by a wave-power plant anywhere in the world.
The plant is located in the breakwater protecting the entrance to the harbour at Mutriku, a coastal village in the Basque Country after which the facility is named. It is made up of a series of turbines containing 16 oscillating water column (OWC) units, manufactured in the Basque Country, with a total installed capacity of 296 kW. Commissioning of the plant required investment of €2.3.
Since 2019 the Mutriku Plant has formed part of the Basque marine energy test centre, BIMEP (Biscay Marine Energy Platform). The centre also has offshore facilities for floating devices, including wave energy collectors and wind-power systems, off the coast of Armintza.
In addition to producing electricity, one of the principal functions of the Mutriku site is to act as a testbed for new technologies related to turbines and monitoring systems. Marine technologies are still under development and improvement, as companies seek to achieve more effective systems with greater output, higher efficiency and lower costs. To date, Mutriku has hosted international tests on two new models of turbine, intended to analyse performance before they are trialled in the open sea at BIMEP’s site in Armintza. The tests have provided highly valuable data for design, and because the facilities are located close to the coast, research costs have been cut.
Tours of the plant
One of the guiding principles behind the running of Mutriku is to increase visibility, by publicising the use and future potential of marine energy. Thanks to a programme of collaboration with the Mutriku town council, it is possible to visit the turbine hall at the Mutriku breakwater as part of the technical and tourist interest of the town. Visits can be arranged through the local tourist office. More than 7,500 people have already toured the facility, which each year plays host to larger numbers of tourists and students.