Canary Islands wave energy

Undersea view of a potential Seabased array Undersea view of a potential Seabased array

Swedish renewable energy company Seabased has joined in a venture with the United Arab Emirates’ company Infocom Connect to develop a wave energy projects in the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands are a group of autonomous islands off the coast of North Africa and they rely heavily on diesel for electricity production, heating and businesses that supply the area’s two million residents, as well as approximately 15 million tourists who visit the islands annually. One of the heaviest consumers of power on the islands is the desalination plants. The islands have limited supplies of fresh water and must continually use desalinated ocean water to maintain the supply. Much of this is currently done with diesel fuel, but the authorities are working to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Óscar Sanchez, who is the Executive Manager of the SBH Hotels and Resorts company, which is one of the largest private companies in the Canaries, is behind the wave energy desalination project and the Sanchez’ family currently owns a desalination plant with a capacity of 5,000 cubic metres. The joint venture partnership will begin with a project for a pilot 5MW installation to provide energy for a desalination plant, but could expand to address multiple energy needs, from automobile recharging stations to supplying the grid.

“I am deeply invested in the future of the Canary Islands and am excited about the potential of wave energy in this area,” Sanchez said. “We have slightly less than 3,000 square miles of land mass and it makes perfect sense to get our power from the waves. I see enormous potential of using wave energy not just for specific projects like desalination, but ultimately to provide power for hotels and the grid itself, which should be less expensive than fossil fuels.”

“This project in the Canaries represents a great opportunity that could be replicated and scaled,” said Seabased CEO Øivind Magnussen. The Seabased system uses circular steel, doughnut shaped floats on the surface that are linked by steel cable to sea bed based vertical generators. The vertical movement of the steel doughnuts in waves is used to power the vertical generators underwater and these are mounted on concrete bases to provide the anchoring system.

By Dag Pike

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