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EGP buys wave power buoys to scope Chile's marine energy

South American nation aims to add wave energy to wind and solar resources to help it reach 70% renewables goal by 2050

Enel Green Power (EGP) has acquired two PowerBuoy wave energy and storage devices from US technology outfit Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) as part of plans to carry out further research into Chile's marine renewable energy potential. The transaction was valued at $1.9m, according to OPT.

“The purchase of the PB3 PowerBuoy is a significant milestone towards this aim. With this new device, and our continued involvement with [Chile’s marine energy research centre] MERIC, we remain committed to expanding our know-how and advancing this frontier in renewable generation,” said Valter Moro, general manager of EGP Chile.

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EGP Chile will deploy the PB3s for two research projects. In one, the wave energy device will power offshore oceanic sensors that will transmit data in real-time to MERIC, and in the second, a PowerBuoy will power a wave radar system made up of Doppler acoustic profilers that will measure sea currents off the coast of Chile.

Aside from investing in marine energy research and pilot projects in several countries, EGP is one of the sponsors of the MERIC research centre, which was inaugurated in August 2019.

Through earlier support from French technology developer Naval Energies, the Chilean government – via its innovation agency Corfo and several local universities – aims to develop knowledge about marine energy resources along the South American country's 6,000km coastline.

The government has ranked marine energy alongside wind and solar as the technologies that will allow Chile to meet a target of 70% renewable energy supply by 2050.

MERIC says that Chile’s long coastline and the high frequency of extreme natural phenomena such as tsunamis, earthquakes and swells make Chile “an unique natural laboratory to study the insertion and development of marine energy”.

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