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Second company plugs in to Hayle's Wave Hub opportunity

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

Wave Hub, the renewable energy test facility in St Ives Bay, has secured its second client.

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A HAYLE-based renewable energy test facility has signed up its second client.

Wave Hub has secured Finnish multinational firm Fortum, a company active in wave energy development, to take up a berth at its offshore test facility in St Ives Bay.

The company will take up one of the four berths with the opportunity to deploy full-scale wave power converters in real sea conditions.

Fortum's ambition is to test new and promising wave power technologies in order to develop new renewable energy for the next generation.

Heli Antila, chief technical officer at Fortum, said: "For Fortum it is important to be able to quickly move forward into actual full-scale array testing of wave power converters once they have passed the first stages of evaluation.

"The Wave Hub facility offers a unique opportunity to do this. As the site is consented, constructed and grid connected this significantly reduces the time it takes to get devices into the water. This is as much plug and play as it will get when it comes to power generation."

Wave Hub, which is publicly owned by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, consists of a giant 'socket' on the seabed connected to the grid network onshore by an underwater cable. It has consent for wave energy devices to be plugged and tested on a scale not seen anywhere before.

The announcement by Fortum follows the news in December that leading UK-based wave energy company Seatricity is to develop a 10MW array over the next two years at the site.

Wave Hub managing director Claire Gibson said: "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.

"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.

"We are therefore delighted to have one of Europe's biggest utilities businesses taking a direct interest in the development of wave devices using Wave Hub's facilities."

Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said the agreement vindicated the original public sector investment at Wave Hub.

"For Wave Hub to have attracted a customer of Fortum's stature is testimony to the unique facilities on offer in our region and puts us at the forefront of world wave energy array development," he said.

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