Wave energy developer Wave Dragon Ltd. has applied for offshore consents from British authorities to develop a 7-MW Pembrokeshire wave energy converter test site off the coast of Wales during the summer of 2008.
Wave Dragon submitted an environmental impact statement for the project in April after nearly two years of environmental consultations, studies, and surveys.
The United Kingdom’s Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are considering Wave Dragon’s applications for offshore consents. The agencies are to meet with statutory consultees and discuss any concerns with Wave Dragon before making a formal decision.
Wave Dragon proposes completing final design and procurement by December 2007, as well as acquiring the necessary consents by the end of the year. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2008, with deployment and grid connection of the converter in the summer of 2008 two to three miles northwest of St. Ann’s Head.
The unit is to be tested for three to five years, to gain operational experience regarding the energy transfer efficiencies. During its operation, the unit is expected to produce enough electricity to supply 2,500 to 3,000 homes. Wave Dragon is in discussion with Western Power regarding how much electricity can be transmitted from the project.
The company said after the test period, it hopes to combine the test unit with ten other units in a commercial wave farm about ten to 12 miles farther out to sea. Wave Dragon Chairman Hans Christian Sorenson said the ultimate goal is to establish a 70-MW wave power plant in the Celtic Sea by 2010.
The Wave Dragon converter is a large floating barge with a main platform and wing-like “wave reflectors” that extend out from each side to funnel waves to the main platform. Cables attached to sand-filled steel blocks anchor the unit to the seabed.
The unit uses the potential energy of waves that overtop it and fill a shallow reservoir. The difference between the water surface in the reservoir and the normal surface of the ocean creates hydraulic head. Water in the reservoir passes through conventional low-head hydropower turbine-generators and is released back into the ocean.