Much more than just words: Gran Canaria is in the world spotlight for marine and maritime R&D

The island of Gran Canaria is establishing itself as one of the prime locations to undertake R&D projects, as it offers ideal conditions in terms of spatial & locational advantages, logistics and business resources, tax support, and funding opportunities.

Gran Canaria benefits from very special geo-physical conditions, together with well-equipped infrastructure (including mid-Atlantic’s leading port and the related industrial cluster), economic stability, legal security, talent pool and exclusive and flexible tax conditions, as a result of the Canary Islands’ Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF). The island is therefore particularly appealing for marine and maritime projects. There are two main compelling arguments:

  1. The R&D tax support regime in force in the Canary Islands offers an even more advantageous version of the fiscal model operating in the rest of Spain, which already ranks among the most favourable in Europe (tax credits of up to 75.6% for expenses on R&D projects and 45% on technological innovation expenses).
  2. Gran Canaria has unique scientific, technical and technological facilities linked to offshore energies and exploitation of the island’s marine resources. In addition to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria having multiple affiliated research groups (118 in all areas), other locally based outstanding institutions include the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), the Canary Islands Institute of Technology and the Spanish Bank of Algae, plus a series of public initiatives currently underway incubating projects in such key sectors such as aquaculture and biotechnology.

The object of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) is to construct, equip and operate a set of marine infrastructure resources for research in the field of marine sciences and technologies. PLOCAN offers a series of high-value services aimed at attracting domestic and international users to respond to the maritime challenges of the coming years. Its specialized facilities include onshore buildings with experimental laboratories and access to harbour area, the Oceanic Offshore Platform resting on the seabed (1.5km from the coast), the Oceanic Observatory and a 23sq km offshore test site. Facilities are operational all year round thanks to the island’s excellent climatic conditions.

There are many companies currently developing projects such as Esteyco, Enerocean and X1Wind, aimed at expanding wind-power systems, transforming existing offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies and introducing newly conceived support devices.

Latest news have just been revealed by danish company Floating Power Plant (FFP), which recently reported that it had obtained 17.65 million euros in R&D tax credits to finance the operational demonstration phase for a floating wave and wind unit. It represents a real milestone for the Canary Islands and Spain: never before had an offshore windpower R&D project been granted such a high level of guaranteed tax support. This funding has been approved by the Spanish Tax Agency as eligible for the country’s R&D tax credit programme. FPP intends to implement a version of its floating hybrid wind-energy and wave-power device on a commercial scale.

Gran Canaria is therefore moving forward towards a sustainable economic development model by opening up fields of innovation and energy, showing a number of successful cases of companies that have decided to develop their projects on the island, benefitting from the R&D-related tax benefits, resources and funding systems that are making Gran Canaria an unbeatable environment for developing marine technology.