- The Mutriku plant is the first commercial plant in Europe to use wave energy to generate electricity, the longest-lived in the world and the one with the most hours of operation.
- It has reached 12 and a half years of continuous clean energy production, with an annual production of approximately 300,000 kWh.
The wave plant of Mutriku, the first worldwide commercial project associated with the wave power sector, has surpassed a new milestone in the field of wave energy by reaching cumulative electricity production of three million kilowatts per hour.
The Mutriku plant is the first European commercial plant that uses wave energy to generate electricity, the world’s oldest and the one that accumulates more hours of operation. Since its launch in 2011, the Mutriku wave energy plant has been 12 and a half years old, generating clean energy continuously. It has passed several stages of development and has exceeded the production records achieved so far by a renewable installation of marine energy. It produces approximately 300,000 kWh per year.
The technology used for energy conversion is the Oscillating Water Column. The plant has 16 turbines located at the head of the port that take advantage of the wave movement to produce electricity, which is injected entirely into the general distribution network for consumption. This facility is owned by the BiMEP (Biscay Marine Energy Platform), a marine energy testing centre in the Basque Country, which manages the Armintza offshore installations for the research of electrical generating floating devices.
The Mutriku project came forward thanks to the joint initiative of the Directorate of Ports and Maritime Affairs of the Basque Government and the Basque Energy Agency, which addressed the challenge of bringing undiminishing technology to the commercial stage, through a project that had an impact on electricity generation on a continuous basis in time while remaining R & D.
In addition, Mutriku is an important link in the OWC technology research chain and the technological improvements derived from this study can be applied to new turbines for later use on the high seas in an environment where the waves have greater energy potential.
Basque Country, world reference in wave energy production
The Mutriku plant has been the fundamental basis for making the Basque Country a world leader in the field of wave power. This international recognition has allowed the ICOE International Conference on Ocean Energy to be organized in the Basque Country twice, the main global event in the field of ocean energies, as well as the EWTEC European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, the main academic conference in this field, organized by the Higher Technical School of Engineering of Bilbao. In addition, more than 20 European, state and Basque R & D projects have been developed, with the participation of Basque companies, and the progress in technological development has been deepening in the knowledge of socioeconomic aspects or environmental pressures that these technologies could generate. The Wave Energy Forum has also been launched within the Energy Cluster, where a group of energy companies work together to develop their capacity in the area of wave energy.
In 2024, BiMEP will continue to work on the development of power-driven technology, both through the TURBOWAVE project, which seeks the specific improvement used in the Mutriku wave power plant, and through the EUROPEWAVE project that will bring two new prototypes to BiMEP in mid-2025. The OLAGARRO project will also advance to strengthen the international position of the BiMEP within the RENMARINAS DEMOS support programme managed by the IDAE and part of the EU-funded Resuscitation, Transformation and Resilience Plan (NextGeneration EU).
BiMEP is a public initiative involving 75% by Ente Vasco de la Energía -the Basque Energy Agency- as a majority partner and 25% by the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), and this institutional collaboration demonstrates that wave energy is strategic to improve the energy balance, always in search of a future energy mix that is free from fossil carbon emissions