· MERIC, inaugurated today at the presence of Chiles Energy Minister Máximo Pacheco, is an International Centre of Excellence (ICE) which serves as a hub for innovation in marine energy in Chile and at global level
· The centre starts its first line of work which will focus on the analysis of bio-fouling and environmental impact of marine energy
· MERIC is an 8-year project supported by a contribution of around 20 million US dollars in cash and in-kind funding, 65% of which will come from the Chilean governments economic development organization CORFO
Las Cruces, June 17th, 2016 Enel, through its subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. ("EGPC"), and the French industrial group DCNS inaugurated today the official start of activity of the Marine Energy Research and Innovation Centre (MERIC) at the presence of Chiles Energy Minister Máximo Pacheco. MERIC is a groundbreaking global centre of marine energy R&D excellence in Chile supported by the Chilean governments economic development organization CORFO (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción).
The inauguration ceremony was headed by Luc Martin, Director of MERIC, with the presence of Enels Head of Latin America at Enels Global Renewable Energies Salvatore Bernabei and the General Director of DCNS Chile Philippe Farge. Representatives from CORFO, the universities Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Austral de Chile also attended the event.
The inauguration gives start to MERICs first line of work which will focus on the analysis of bio-fouling and environmental impact of marine energy. The investigation activity will be carried out at the Marine Research Laboratory of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ECIM (Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas) located in Las Cruces, in Valparaíso region.
"We are very proud to be an active part in the innovative work of MERIC and support its pioneering research activity in the field of marine energy," said Salvatore Bernabei, Head of Latin America at Enels Global Renewable Energies division. "It is important to encourage research and development of fieldwork on wave and tidal energies, which in Chile have an estimated potential of around 175 GW, thanks to their constant availability throughout the year. Therefore, we are convinced that marine energy can play a significant role in the future of the energy sector, not only in Chile, but also at global level. "
Luc Martin, Director of MERIC, stated: This inauguration is a very important step for MERIC and the development of marine renewable energy in Chile. The country has tremendous potential for these new resources and we look forward to working in close cooperation with the Chilean industry and academics to develop a local laboratory for marine renewable energy, with the capacity to address a global market. Philippe Farge, General Director of DCNS Chile, said: The work of MERIC will benefit from technological transference and experience from DCNS, which has a unique expertise in complex marine systems.
MERIC is an 8-year project, supported by a contribution of approximately 20 million US dollars in cash and in-kind funding, 65% of which comes from CORFO, which selected Enel and DCNS in October 2014 to set up this International Centre of Excellence (ICE) that will serve as a hub for innovation in marine energy in Chile and at global level.
As a world leader in the renewable energy sector, Enel will highlight what are the most important factors in the installation, operation and maintenance of marine power plants in order to secure safe, sustainable and profitable projects. DCNS is a major player in marine renewable energy systems with a significant track record as well as technical expertise in tidal, offshore wind and thermal energy conversions, and brings valuable experience in naval and marine industrial project management and methodology. MERIC will be also supported by the resources and substantial expertise of the Chilean development organization Fundación Chile, the R&D foundation INRIA Chile, research institutions Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Universidad Austral de Chile, as well as Enel Groups subsidiary Chilectra.
During the 8 years of activity, the Centre will gather researchers to support six lines of work related to marine resource assessment, site characterization, bio-fouling, bio-corrosion, environmental and social impact, and technology adaptation to extreme ocean conditions. The experts will also begin developing tools to test and adapt MRE technologies to Chiles unique natural conditions (seismic activity, rugged coastline, a particularly rich and diverse array of marine flora and fauna). MERIC will implement an innovative, integrated approach to R&D in the sector, which includes the installation by EGPC of an experimental wave energy converter to serve as a validation test bench allowing comparison of theoretical results with real world data.
From 2019 onwards, MERIC is expected to have a consolidated infrastructure and experience which would allow providing services to local and international industry who wish to test marine energy technologies in the Chilean marine environment.
About Enel Green Power Chile
The Enels renewable subsidiary in Chile Enel Green Power Chile (EGPC) currently operates a portfolio of plants that have a combined installed capacity of over 880 MW, of which 364 MW comes from wind power, 430 MW from PV solar and 92 MW from hydropower. In addition, EGPC currently has 300 MW of projects in execution, which when completed will bring the companys total installed capacity in Chile to about 1,200 MW. Among these projects is Cerro Pabellón, which will have a gross installed capacity of 48 MW and will be South Americas first geothermal plant.
DCNS is the European leader in naval defence and a major player in marine renewable energy. The Groups success as an advanced technology company with global reach is built on meeting customer needs by deploying exceptional know-how, unique industrial resources and an ability to develop innovative strategic partnerships. DCNS designs and builds submarines and surface combatants, develops associated systems and infrastructure, and offers a full range of services to naval bases and shipyards. The Group has also expanded its focus into marine renewable energy. Aware of its corporate social responsibilities, DCNS is a member of the United Nations Global Compact. The DCNS Group generates annual revenues of 3.04 billion and employs 12,953 people (2015 data).
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