Wave Power

Lanzarote’s Cabildo is studying a project that will create energy from the constant waves that pound the northern coast of Lanzarote.

L anzarote’s southern coast is calm and sheltered – a magnet for millions of holiday makers – but the northern coast is completely different. Here, North Atlantic swells roll down for thousands of miles to break against black volcanic basalt, creating natural wonders such as Los Hervidores, where plumes of white foam shoot high into sky.
These waves have already benefitted the island, bringing a thriving surf scene to La Santa and Famara, but now they could also help power Lanzarote, as the Cabildo launches a study into the use of mWaveTM technology, developed by the Australian company Bombora.

mWave technology can be understood as a type of underwater windmill. The main part of the installation consists of a concrete structure on the seabed with several large rubber membranes angled towards the waves. These rubber membrane are pushed in by the force of the waves, forcing air through a wind turbine which then sends power to shore. The air is constantly recycled and power is generated at all times.

The position of the installations on the seabed means that they are protected from the worst effects of storms, and will also not effect the passage of ships and boats above. mWave installations are already in place in Wales, the Orkneys, Portugal and Australia, and the Lanzarote project is planned to be a further step from the project currently being trialled in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The Cabildo is also looking at the possibility of positioning floating wind generators off the coast of Lanzarote. After several years of inactivity, Lanzarote has committed itself to wind power again, and this technique has been found to be one of the most effective, while also cutting down on visual impact.

Ángel Vásquez, of the Cabildo’s Energy Area, said, “We continue to work on integrating renewable energy sources on the island, investigating all the ways open to us, all of which will allow us to create new knowledge as well as employment.”