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Wave Farms – The Next Generation?

Posted: 22/11/2016

Wave power is set to be harnessed to help provide some 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs, with the first wave farm in Britain due to be constructed just off the Cornish coast.

A lone device, dubbed Ceto 6, will be activated by 2018 and if it proves to be successful, another 14 will be added just two years later. Together, these 15 devices will be able to provide enough power for 6,000 homes annually, the Daily Mail reports.

The device in question, developed by Australian company Carnegie Wave Energy, differs from other wave energy alternatives because it operates underwater, which means that it’s invisible from the shoreline and that it’s safe from large storms.

The Australian company was granted £9,551,962 from the European Regional Development Fund to roll out the first phase of the plan at Wave Hub in Cornwall, a grant that represents 65 per cent of the funding required to construct, design, install and operate just one of these Ceto 6 devices.

The project will begin with just 1MW of electricity provided in 2018, which is enough to power 400 homes each year. However, when the other 14 devices are added by 2020 this will grow to 15MW.

Dr Michael Ottaviano, managing director and CEO of Carnegie, was quoted by the news source as saying: “The UK offers unique advantages for the commercialisation of Ceto. We are pleased that stage two is set to offer a commercial return on investment with its 15MW array which will allow third party investment in this stage.”

Earlier this month, Cornwall Council announced that it has finally concluded negotiations with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) regarding the transfer of Wave Hub. Claire Gibson, Managing Director of Wave Hub Ltd, the operating company and seabed leaseholder of two Crown Estate demonstration zones in Pembrokeshire and North Devon, said that the creation of an enterprise zone around the ports of Falmouth and Hayle, coupled with £14 million in funding, will only serve to strengthen the county’s marine energy sector offerings.

Wave Hub Ltd’s Chairman Bill Russell added: “We have had great support from BEIS over the last few years. Importantly, they have enabled us to complete two infrastructure enhancements so large scale technology projects like that planned by Carnegie Wave Energy can be demonstrated in the UK. We now look forward to developing a new relationship with Cornwall Council and to realising our shared ambition for the marine energy sector in Cornwall.”

It’s taken years for the UK to get to this point, with plans approved for Wave Hub back in 2007. Ideas were also thrown around for a wave farm off the coast of Scotland, with plans approved in 2013 for a farm in the Western Isles, but it’s unclear whether this is still going ahead as grid infrastructure is required in order for devices to be installed.

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