Ambitious project will create step change for wave energy

A €19.6 million partnership aiming to be the stepping stone to large scale wave energy commercialisation, will be launched this week at the International Conference on Ocean Energy in San Sebastian, Spain.

Co-ordinated by the Irish company OceanEnergy, WEDUSEA is a pioneering collaboration between 14 partners, spanning industry and academia from across the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Spain. Over four years, the project will see a 1 MW wave energy device designed, built and installed in Orkney, off the coast of Scotland, with the aim of demonstrating recent cost reductions in the technology.

Within the project, specialist engineering consultants, Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions (GDG), is using its extensive experience in offshore renewables to support the project with survey management, ground modelling, anchor design and anchor procurement. In addition, GDG will supervise anchor installation and decommissioning to ensure technical and environmental compliance.

“At GDG, we have been providing critical insight into key decision and design steps across the lifecycle of anchoring systems for several years. We are delighted to be part of this highly innovative, highly collaborative project which will allow us to further refine our service offering in this important area. We look forward to working with the multidisciplinary WEDUSEA team to optimise the device’s station keeping system from a technical, social, environmental and economic perspective."

Dr Cian Desmond, Head of Innovation, GDG

OceanEnergy has developed the OE35, which is the world’s largest capacity floating wave energy device. Floating on the ocean’s surface, the device incorporates a trapped air volume, with the lower part open to the sea. Wave pressures at the submerged opening cause the water to oscillate and drive the trapped air through a turbine to generate electricity. This energy can be exported to the grid or used in other offshore applications.

“This rigorous technical and environmental demonstration will happen over a two-year period in Atlantic wave conditions. We believe this will be transformational for the wave energy industry, with outcomes directly impacting policy, technical standards, public perception and investor confidence. Wave energy is the world’s most valuable and persistent renewable resource. However, it has yet to be fully realised. The project will demonstrate that wave technology is on a cost reduction trajectory and will thus be a stepping stone to larger commercial array scale up and further industrialisation. We predict that the natural energy of the world’s oceans will one day supply much of the grid.”

Prof. Tony Lewis, Chief Technical Officer, OceanEnergy

“We are expecting WEDUSEA to take wave energy beyond the state-of-the-art by the collaboration of partners with a multi-disciplinary background and that it will contribute to the deployment of arrays of reliable wave energy devices to achieve the 1GW target for 2030 as presented in our Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy. The current energy crisis shows that the use of multiple energy sources is important to improve the security of supply and a breakthrough in ocean energy would be welcome.”

Matthijs Soede, European Commission

“The innovative actions taken in this programme aim to improve the efficiency, reliability, scalability and sustainability of wave energy technology, and reduce the Levelised Cost of Electricity of the technology by over 30%. This will help to de-risk investments in wave energy.”

Myles Heward, Project Manager, European Marine Energy Centre

The four-year WEDUSEA project has three phases. The first phase is the initial design of a device suited to European Marine Energy test site’s ocean conditions . This will be followed by the demonstration at the site, lasting two years. The final phase will be commercialisation and dissemination which sees the capitalisation and exploitation of the results. OceanEnergy and other consortium companies will actively exploit the results through new innovations, products and services. The results will also be disseminated to feed both environmental databases and IEC electrotechnical standards.

“WEDUSEA is set to be a major catalyst for the wave energy industry, unlocking the full potential of this exciting renewable technology. WEDUSEA builds on the partners’ experience in prior EU projects. In particular, it draws on the findings of the Components for Ocean Renewable Energy Systems (CORE) project, funded by the EU under the 7th Framework Programme, in which new components and systems for ocean energy devices were developed and trialled. We are expecting WEDUSEA will make a significant contribution to meeting the challenges of climate change and the energy crisis through innovation and rigorous testing and research.”

Prof. Lars Johanning, University of Exeter

"Wave energy is at full-scale stage now and projects like WEDUSEA are paving the way for pilot farms and sector-wide industrialisation. As an EU-UK collaboration project, it will demonstrate the potential for wave energy to make a significant contribution to the EU Green Deal target. Wave energy will help smooth production peaks or dips from variable wind and ensure European energy independence.”

Rémi Gruet, CEO, Ocean Energy Europe

The project is co-funded by the EU Horizon Europe Programme and by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

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