The Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center (MERIC) is running several studies that aim to boost the development of this source of renewable energy in Chile.
The “Month of the Sea” has just finished, and with it a series of commemorations that show the deep bond that Chileans have with the ocean. Furthermore, with about 5,000 kilometers of coastline, our relationship with the sea was, is and will be essential to move towards a sustainable future and a better quality of life. Being aware of this challenge, the Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center (MERIC), with the support of CORFO and the Ministry of Energy, has been studying, for almost four years, the technical, legal, social and economic requirements and costs to exploit the marine energy costs.
In this regard, the CEO of MERIC Luc Martin said: “To achieve the goal set by the Government, which states that in the year 2,040 all the energy we use must come from 100% renewable sources, it is necessary that marine energy becomes an important part of the Chilean renewable energy portfolio. The reason is simple: marine energy is a predictable source that is present 24hrs 365 days a year and can be implemented even in isolated locations or remote sites like islands “.
Since 2015 MERIC Chile is working to support the authorities in the search for clean and renewable sources to complement the matrix that already exists, which includes the sustainable development of marine energy. To achieve this, MERIC conducts experiments at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Santiago and Las Cruces) and the Austral University of Chile (Valdivia). These institutions are partners of MERIC, along with Fundación Chile, Inria Chile and Enel Green Power Chile.
In addition to the work done with its partners, MERIC seeks to work closely with other educational institutions. University of Magallanes (Punta Arenas), Bernardo O’Higgins University, University of Valparaiso and the University of Concepción, are some of the institutions with which the center has close ties through cooperation.
Moreover, the Marine Energy Research and Innovation Center is constantly looking for new learning opportunities abroad. On this topic Luc Martin commented: ” our scientists perform constant technical visits to facilities in Europe and North America, in parallel to our work in various parts of the country. They also participate in international instances that can be useful and applicable to the Chilean case.”
Renewable marine energy could position Chile as one of the major contributors to the development of clean energy in the world, in the same way that solar energy or wind power can. It could enable for covering the whole energy demand of the country, if the associated technologies are sufficiently developed. MERIC seeks to continue promoting high quality research, to build human capital and to transfer knowledge, so that in 2040 Chile would be able to harness the great energy potential of the sea.