The battle for the high seas continues in the United Kingdom. Not to be outdone by its neighbor to the north, England will benefit from a recently signed lease agreement between the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) and the Crown Estate creating a new wave energy technology testing center in Falmouth Bay, on the south coast of Cornwall. The site, called “FabTest,” has also secured a marine license from the Marine Management Organisation, allowing the mooring of marine energy converter devices.
Similar to Wave Hub, the grid-connected wave energy demonstration facility installed 10 miles off the north coast of Cornwall last year, and Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), FabTest will provide a site for developers to conduct sea trials of their of wave energy generation devices. Unlike the other sites, FabTest is situated in moderate seas close to port facilities, and will not be grid-connected. The site will have the capacity to test up to three devices at a time, and is intended to be a “stepping stone” for developers hoping to deploy their devices at Wave Hub.
The site will be collaboratively managed by FHC and the University of Exeter, whose experts first proposed the idea of a nursery test site in Falmouth Bay. FabTest has also been welcomed by Plymouth University, which is currently building wave and tidal tank testing facilities in Plymouth, scheduled to open next year.
“When you combine our marine building with FabTest’s nearshore facilities, Wave Hub’s offshore grid-connected site, the marine supply chain and the region’s academic expertise, you have the knowledge and assets to take a marine energy project from prototype model to full scale testing of arrays, all in South West England,” said Professor Julian Beer, pro vice-chancellor at Plymouth University. “That’s what the marine energy park concept is all about.”
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