Energy potential of marine energy in Spain was quantified

The University of Cantabria in Spain completed a study that analyzes how waves flow along the Spanish coast, in order to assess ther energy potential.

The study (Assessment of the wave energy potential in Spain) examined approximately 1,000 coastal sites to evaluate their capacity and the average direction of waves at different distances from the coast at monthly, seasonal and annual intervals.

The results were presented as maps available on the Web, allowing different interpretations. Also, summary sheets were compiled providing practical guidance on the most suitable sites for the installation of plants and on the main challenges that must be faced in order to build, manage and eventually dismantle them.

The study, promoted by the IDAE (Institute for the Diversification and Energy Saving of the Ministry of Industry), constitutes the necessary grounds for an assessment aimed at including wave energy in the Spanish energy mix, under the new "2011-2020 Renewable Energy National Action Plan”, which is being drawn up.

Overall, this resource has a highly significant potential, particularly along the Atlantic coast. Indeed, the regions with the most promising wave systems are Galicia and Cantabria, both placed in the north-west of the country.

In Galicia an average capacity of 40-45 kW/metre was registered, with peaks in winter reaching 75 kW. The average capacity in the seas of Cantabria was 30 kW/metre, and winter peaks reached 50 kW. As for the Canary Islands, they follow with an average of 20 kW, while the whole Mediterranean coast has a capacity slightly below 10 kW.