Wave energy developer Ocean Prospect and its utility partner E.ON are withdrawing their WestWave pilot project from the United Kingdom’s Wave Hub testing facility off England’s Cornwall coast.
E.ON recently has made progress with its purchase of a next-generation Pelamis wave energy device from Ocean Prospect, which it intends to test at the European Marine Energy Center in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. (HNN 2/11/09)
�Our aim is to concentrate on testing our Pelamis device, which means that it was unlikely we’d be in a position to connect to Wave Hub in the short term,� E.ON Regional Director for Renewables Dave Rogers said. �We still believe Wave Hub is an excellent project — and we may well return to it in the future — but our initial goal is to get a machine into the water as quickly as possible, which we’ll be able to do in Orkney.�
E.ON and Ocean Prospect had planned to connect up to five Pelamis units at Wave Hub, whose electrical �socket� on the seabed will allow ocean energy developers to conduct large-scale testing of their equipment before going into commercial production.
�Wave Hub provides a great opportunity for developers to test an array of devices in full maritime conditions,� Ocean Prospect General Manager Damian Aubrey said. �By withdrawing our WestWave project, we hope that the resulting vacant berth will quickly be taken by one of the many companies eager to test their devices.�
An official of the Wave Hub developer, South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA), said the developers’ departure is understandable.
�Wave Hub is on course to be built and commissioned next year,� RDA Head of Marine Energy Nick Harington said. �We are currently in negotiations with three wave device developers and look forward to the first device being deployed at Wave Hub in 2011.�
In March, RDA named Orecon Ltd. of the United Kingdom to replace Oceanlinx Ltd. of Australia as the fourth wave energy developer to test its generating equipment at Wave Hub. (HNN 3/13/09) Oceanlinx had been expected to use Wave Hub but subsequently received a grant from the Australian government and decided to make its next deployment in Australian waters.
Other Wave Hub developers are Ocean Power Technologies, with a 5-MW project based on its PowerBuoy wave energy converter; and Fred. Olsen Ltd., with a number of floating buoys attached to a floating platform that converts wave energy to electricity.