Long ago, the inhabitants of Mutriku, a charming seaside community, profited from the riches of the ocean. And today, they’re using its incredible talents and capabilities.

Strong storms and waves carved out the shoreline here, leaving behind flowing, jagged layers of thin rocks that reach out into the water like pages of an ancient book. More than 800 years after it started as a modest fishing village, Mutriku grew with Basque trade during the Middle Ages to become a thriving port that was home to generations of fishermen, traders, shipbuilders, and whalers. The Mutriku Wave Energy Plant was built in the town in 2011, becoming the first commercial wave power plant in Europe. The plant’s 16 turbines use the energy of the waves to generate electricity that can power up to 250 homes and keep 600 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year. When the facility produced two gigawatts of electricity in total in 2020, a first for any wave plant and an illustration of the potential of marine power in the global transition to renewable energy, it made a noteworthy accomplishment.

Basques have always been able to profit from the sea, despite the fact that the needs of the world may have changed. Water has always been, is now, and will always be a crucial component of life for the Mutrikuarra.