UK’s first electricity from waves to be supplied from site off Cornwall

The Daily Mail Online, 7th November 2016, reports: Britain’s first wave farm to be built in Cornwall: Site will provide electricity for 6,000 homes each year by 2020.

  • The system will provide 1MW to the grid by 2018, and 15MW by 2020
  • Technology is different to other wave power as it’s completely underwater
  • The government says wave could provide 20 per cent of UK’s electricity

Despite their benefits, offshore wind farms can be a blight on the landscape. But an alternative is on its way in Cornwall, with Britain’s first wave farm set to start generating electricity with one device in 2018.

If the device proves successful, fourteen more are expected to follow in 2020. Together, they’ll be able to provide enough electricity for 6,000 homes each year.

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The Ceto 6 system is different from other wave energy devices as it operates under water, which means it is safer from large storms and invisible from the shore.

The device works using a large float submerged in the sea. As the float is lifted and lowered by the wave motion, this drives a pump and a generator.

Power is delivered back to shore through subsea cables to power desalination plants as well as for export into the grid.

* * * * *

Carnegie Wave Energy, an Australian company, has been granted £9,551,962 ($11,834,069) from the European Regional Development Fund to support the first phase of its planned commercial project at Wave Hub in Cornwall.

The grant represents 65 per cent of the funding for a £15 million ($18.5m) project to design, construct, install and operate a single, grid-connected Ceto 6 wave device.

Three Ceto units are already in operation in Australia.

“The UK offers unique advantages for the commercialisation of Ceto,” said Carnegie’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Michael Ottaviano. “We are pleased that stage 2 is set to offer a commercial return on investment with its 15MW array which will allow third party investment in this stage.”

Wave power could become a viable alternative to wind energy.

“It is estimated the UK has around 50 per cent of Europe’s tidal energy resource, and a study in 2004 estimated the UK’s technical resource at around 16 terawatts per hour per year (TWh/year) (4 per cent of overall supply),” the government says.

It is much more predictable than wind power and it increases during the winter, when electricity demand is at its highest.

The government has been trying to back wave and tidal power for years, but companies have struggled to get it off the ground.

Part of the reason behind the struggle is a lack of funding. For example, Pelamis, a Scottish company that developed and built wave energy devices was forced to call in administrators in 2014 after failing to secure development funding.

Carnegie will rely on the government’s feed-in-tariff for marine energy. That will provide £305 per megawatt hour for the second stage of the project.

“I am delighted that Carnegie secured the £9.55m of ERDF funding and chosen to deliver its CETO wave energy project at Wave Hub,” said George Eustice, Minister of State at the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

“Cornwall offers a cluster of academic and industrial expertise, world class test facilities, infrastructure and resources which ensures it is well positioned to play a significant role in securing the UK’s continued reputation as a market leader in offshore renewables.”

Source: The Daily Mail Online, 7th November 2016. For further details, see
and Carnegie Wave Energy
and Wave Hub

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