Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme (€17 million), the Clean Energy From Ocean Waves (CEFOW) project aims to deploy advanced multiple wave energy converters with improved power generation capability and demonstrate that they are able to survive rough sea conditions over a number of years. The Universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Uppsala will conduct environmental monitoring to aid the understanding of the ecological consequences of upscaling from single to multiple devices and contextualise device-specific ecological responses. The Universities of Plymouth and Exeter initially collected an extensive baseline data set from 2008 – 2015 from the Wave Hub test site in North Cornwall. The project has since been relocated to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) wave energy test site in Orkney where surveys will take place from 2017 and continue for several years. Sampling involves the use of remote cameras to examine the relationship of the devices with the environment using indicators for multiple levels of the host ecosystem including sessile and mobile benthic organisms, fish and mobile predators. At a time when the UK marine energy industry is poised to grow considerably, the CEFOW project represents a unique opportunity to take an international lead in benthic, demersal and pelagic research associated with renewable wave energy installations.
Led by Fortum, CEFOW is supported by a range of project partners with a vast amount of expertise in onshore renewable energy:
- Fortum: Fortum, a multi-national energy utility, believes that a transition to a solar economy, where energy production is based solely on renewable energy sources, is inevitable, although gradual. As an inexhaustible and emissions-free energy form, wave power can play an important role in the future, and that is why it is also a key focus area in Fortum’s research and development work. Fortum is responsible for coordinating the CEFOW project which will take place at the EMEC test facility, where Fortum has signed a leasing agreement for a grid connected wave power array.
- Wello: Finnish wave energy device developer Wello has already developed and successfully tested a single Penguin device at EMEC in Scotland in 2013. The Penguin device is one of the most advanced devices today, when measured in terms of power conversion capability and survivability. Penguin is also the only semi-permanently deployed megawatt scale floating wave energy converter. The CEFOW project will see three Penguin devices deployed at EMEC starting in 2017.
- EMEC: The three Penguin WECs will be deployed at EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo, off the west coast of Orkney, Scotland. In addition to being the test site of choice for the CEFOW project, EMEC are also leading the dissemination and communications activities for the project.
- Green Marine: Green Marine’s involvement in the CEFOW project is to design a safe & cost effective installation and maintenance plan along with the other partners. Green Marine will be responsible for installing the mooring infrastructure, cabling and installing the Penguin devices onsite along with ongoing maintenance over the full term of the project, using our own vessels and experienced crews.
- Plymouth University: Plymouth University facilitates the sustainable development of wave renewable energy by assessing benthic change, the ecosystem functional relevance and provides advice to developers and regulators for potential mitigation measures. As part of the CEFOW project they will complete the benthic spatial and temporal baseline survey of the EMEC site using towed flying video and produce a research plan. They will annually monitor the impact of the Penguin device(s) and associated management practices and report associated change in seabed biodiversity and integrity.
- University of Exeter: The University of Exeter combines world class research with excellent education at its campuses in Exeter and Cornwall. It is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities and are leading on the ‘Environmental Impact and Health & Safety’ work package in CEFOW, and tasked to monitor the effect of the Penguin device(s) on the mobile seabed faunal community and seabird interactions/behaviour.
- Uppsala University: Uppsala University has a vast amount of experience in developing its own linear generator wave energy converter which is also the base for another wave energy technology, Seabased. Uppsala has been running the Lysekil test site for wave energy since 2004 and has contributed greatly in environmental studies related to wave energy. Uppsala university will be involved in work relating to the grid connection, measurements and power quality of the Penguin device. They will also be involved in environmental monitoring by deploying sonars and echo-sounders.
This project has received €17 million funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 655594.