Administrative Procedures and Legal Aspects

Administrative barriers are mainly related to permits procurement. The experience in Portugal, both with the Pico and the AWS plants shows that this is a very important area.

In Portugal, and possibly in many countries, the regulations for the sea are less well established, no experience exists in licensing wave energy plants and a large number of public departments are called to participate in the permit procurement. This turns the permit procurement a very complicated and time-consuming process. In the case of the AWS permit about 10 different public departments were involved (the Defence, Environmental and Public Works ministries were directly involved with more than one department from each). Regarding this aspect, a similar approach like the new Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), as practiced in the United Kingdom, could straighten the procedure. In this methodology, the National waters are divided in several zones, for which the necessary permission and licensing procedures and the involved competent entities are clearly defined.

Concerning the permissions and licensing to feed electricity into the electrical grid, the restrictions to power quality are quite clearly defined by Portuguese law, however the quantity and the timing for large-scale feed-in is not easily sizable. The work to be done includes the identification and comparison of legal procedures and constraints related to the access to the electrical grid, with the objective of removing the constraints and simplifying and standardising the procedures required for wave energy. The identification of the electrical grid connection points availability and characteristics in the areas of interest for wave energy is an important step towards enabling large-scale implementation.