Marine test site for emerging oceanic technologies focused on ocean energy converters. PLOCAN is a Public Consortium ruled by the Spanish Government and the Regional Government of the Canary Islands. PLOCAN is a marine scientific and technical infrastructure to facilitate the development of new oceanic technologies providing different services to the enterprises and researchers. The five strategic lines are: ocean observation, underwater vehicles, marine test site, platform of innovation and Training centre.
The site is located on the east coast of Gran Canaria Island of the Canary Islands in Spain. It is located at the border of the continental platform with depths between 20-600m in the Atlantic Ocean.
Environmental impact assessment.
The Regional Government of the Canary Islands was in charge of the environmental procedure. The Authorization was issued in April 2013 to install the submarine electrical infrastructure and wave energy converters.
The test site area has been authorized by the Council of Ministers agreement of 14th March 2014. This test site has a marine area of 23 km2.
This test site is operative for grid and non-grid connected prototypes.
Grid connection: 2 cables x 5 MW
1st cable of 5 MW: operative. 5 MW offshore wind turbine connected (since 2018)
2nd cable of 5 MW: pending to enter in operation.
Key Environmental Issues
Brief description on the most important environmental issues raised by the project (e.g. Sensitive species/habitats/areas that were of particular concern and/or received special protection) and how they were addressed.
The test site is out of sensitive areas in terms of NATURA 2000 or any National and Regional Declarations. The most interesting species detected in the area are:
- Avrainvillea canariensis: Algae declared as “Interesting for Canary ecosystems” by the Regional Law 4/2010.
- Mäerl: Include in the Annex V of Habitat Directive.
Environmental Webpage: http://observatorios.plocan.eu/index.php/en/coastal-observatory
Baseline Assessment: PLOCAN Marine Test Site for Ocean Energy Converters
|Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Marine Mammals||Presence of Marine Mammals in the Area||Review existing information.||Few mammals and turtles. Report in Spanish. English summary report is pending.||Complete|
|Fish||Study of Fish in the Area||Review of existing information.||Presence of some species of sharks documented. Local fisheries activity.||Complete|
|Physical Environment||Identification of Benthic Community||Video transects, previous existing information, sampling.||Most interesting species: |
• Avrainvillea canariensis (algae)
• Mäerl community
|Physical Environment, Water Quality||Water Quality||Survey conducted with multi-parameter probe: salinity, temperature, pH, turbidity, oxygen.||No contamination detected.||Complete|
|Physical Environment, Water Quality||Water quality||Laboratory |
Sampling with oceanographic bottles. Parameters: nutrients, pigments, metals, pH, salinity, oxygen.
|No contamination detected.||Completed. Planned side scan sonar.|
|Physical Environment, Sediment Transport||Geophysical |
Sediments morphology, type and quality (metals, PAHs, PCBs, Organic matter)
|Van Veen dredger to collect bottom samples.||Sand, Gravels and Rocks. No contamination detected.||Completed 2010 Completed 2015|
|Physical Environment||Geophysical |
|Sub-bottom profiler TOPAS.||Unconsolidated sediment layer thickness: |
1 m-10 m
|Completed 2013 Completed 2015|
|Physical Environment||Wave Conditions||Waverider buoy data analysis.||Average values: |
• Hs = 1.05 m
Tp = 8 s
|Physical Environment||Marine Currents||ADCP||Average value: |
V = 0.2 m/s
|Physical Environment||Underwater Acoustic Survey||Hydrophone||See reports (in Spanish)||Underway|
|Physical Environment||Electromagnetic Fields||Electric and magnetic field measurements||Baseline level. |
Report in Spanish.
|Human Dimensions, Fisheries||Fisheries||Review of existing information.||Local fisheries activity.||Complete|
Post-Installation Monitoring: PLOCAN Marine Test Site for Ocean Energy Converters
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Noise||Fish, Marine Mammals||Monitoring noise||Permanent deployed monitor noise systems.||N/A||Planned|
|EMF||Fish, Invertebrates, Reptiles||Electromagnetic field monitoring produced from cables and submarine station.||Planned|
|Habitat Change||Marine Mammals||Monitoring the Presence of Marine Mammals||Visual surveys.||Planned|
|Habitat Change||Fish||Monitoring the Presence of Fish, Particularly Sharks||Visual surveys.||Planned|
|Habitat Change||Invertebrates||Monitoring the Impact on Benthic Communities||• ROV inspections |
• Permanent underwater video cameras
Inspections with divers
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||In Situ: temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll||Seasonal boat based survey with multi-parameter probe.||Underway|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||In Situ: temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll||Permanent deployed oceanographic buoys.||Planned|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Laboratory: nutrients, pigments, metals, pH, salinity, oxygen||Seasonal boat based sampling with oceanographic bottles.||Underway|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Waves||Permanent deployed wave buoy.||Underway|
|Changes in Flow||Physical Environment||Currents||Permanent deployed ADCP. |