Green light for wave test site

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Details have been confirmed for a marine energy test site in Falmouth Bay.

FHC chief executive Mark Sansom

Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) submitted a licence application earlier in the year for the FabTest scheme, and has now signed a lease with The Crown Estate.

The site has also been issued with a marine license by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which allows the mooring of marine energy converter devices.

The announcement, made at the Regen SW Renewable Futures conference in Bath, is the latest step in the creation of a marine energy park in South West England.

The park aims to pull together commercial and academic organisations and marine energy assets to create a vibrant and dynamic centre of marine energy in the region.

FabTest, which is not grid-connected, will enable wave energy generation device developers to conduct sea trials of their devices in moderate seas, close to port facilities. It is a stepping stone to the deployment of arrays of devices at Wave Hub, the world’s largest grid-connected wave energy demonstration facility installed ten miles off the Hayle coast.

The management of the site will be undertaken by a partnership between FHC and the University of Exeter. The FabTest project has been driven by a steering group which has also included Wave Hub and the marine energy support industry including A&P Group and Mojo Maritime in Cornwall.

Johnny Gowdy

Mark Sansom, chief executive of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC), said: “FabTest offers a pre-consented area in Falmouth Bay licensed to test up to three devices at a time and we are delighted to have signed this lease with The Crown Estate.

“We will manage the facility and have already secured a licence from the MMO. This means we can offer developers a streamlined approval process for individual devices in an area with a range of depth and seabed types that does not interfere with marine traffic.”

Johnny Gowdy, programme director at Regen SW, commented: “We are working with Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council on the creation of a marine energy park in the south west and FabTest is another essential component in the region’s growing offer to the marine energy industry.

“We are delighted at today’s announcement, coinciding as it does with our Renewables Futures conference.”

Claire Gibson, general manager at Wave Hub, added: “FabTest is exactly what the industry has told us it needs and complements the growing marine energy assets and expertise we have in the south west region. It has been designed as a stepping stone to Wave Hub and will help device developers on the critical path to commercialisation.”