Finnish utility Fortum has signed a leasing agreement with the UK-based Wave Hub in order to test wave power solutions off the coast of Cornwall, in South West England.

Schematic of Wave hub

Finnish utility Fortum has signed a leasing agreement with the UK-based Wave Hub in order to test wave power solutions off the coast of Cornwall, in South West England.

The Wave Hub project consists of an electrical hub on the seabed 16 kilometres off the north coast of Cornwall, which is linked to the UK’s grid network via a 25km, subsea cable.

The agreement gives Fortum the opportunity to deploy an array of advanced full scale wave power converters in real sea conditions at one of Wave Hub’s four berths, which is capable of handing up to 10 megawatts of installed generation.

Fortum says the deal offers it a unique opportunity to rapidly deploy and test wave power converters in favourable ocean conditions.
"One wave power solution that we are currently evaluating to be deployed at the site is the ‘Penguin’, developed by Finnish wave power company Wello," says Fortum’s chief technology officer Heli Antila. "This technique comprises vessels that float on the water and capture kinetic energy, which is then turned into electrical power, with minimal anchoring attached to the bottom."

Fortum is also involved in testing of AW-Energy’s WaveRoller™ technology, which was recently independently-verified by DNV GL. Fortum has deployed WaveRoller™ technology off the coast of Portugal, and plans further development/testing off the cost of Bretagne, France.

Construction of the £30 million Wave Hub facility was funded with £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £13.5 million from the UK government.

"Wave Hub was designed to provide a crucial link in the development of wave device technology by offering the industry the opportunity for full scale array testing of devices," said Wave Hub managing director Claire Gibson.

"While much of the initial device design and development within the sector has been driven by individual developers, the direct involvement and investment by major utilities companies is likely to play a significant role in realising the potential of wave technology. "

The announcement from Fortum follows the news in December 2013 that UK-based wave energy company Seatricity is to develop a 10MW array over the next two years at Wave Hub. Seatricity plans to deploy its second generation device at Wave Hub during 2014 before building out to a full scale grid-connected array in 2015.


Photo: Wave Hub schematic