Marine license clears Penguin’s way to Orkney

Wello Penguin WEC-2 launched in the sea in Tallinn, Estonia (Photo: Wello)

A marine license for the installation of a wave energy array consisting of three Wello’s Penguin devices has been granted for a project in Scotland, just as the optimized, newly-built, Penguin wave energy converter hit the waters in Estonia.

The second Penguin wave energy converter (WEC-2) is due to be towed to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, where it will be deployed alongside the Finnish developer’s original Penguin device.

The development follows the approval of a marine license, granted in November 2018, for the installation, operation and decommissioning of the three-WEC array and the subsea hub, the testing center informed.

Caitlin Long, Environment & Consents Specialist, EMEC said: “We are very pleased that the CEFOW (Clean Energy From Ocean Waves) project has been successful in securing consent for the first WEC array on a single electrical cable, in Scotland.

“The awarded marine license provides Wello and Fortum with the required flexibility to commence with the installation of the second WEC’s moorings and the smart hub. This is a great achievement by the project consortium and we look forward to welcoming two more Penguins to EMEC.”

The CEFOW project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, aims to build and deploy an array of three Wello Penguins at EMEC’s grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo, on the west coast of Orkney.

The first of the three Penguin WECs was successfully installed by local marine contractor, Green Marine, in April 2017 and has safely remained on site since then, surviving wave heights of over 18 meters, according to developers.

Learning from the demonstration of the first device has fed into the development of WEC-2 which has been optimized for power generation. The device has been built at the Netaman shipyard in Tallinn, Estonia.

Using dry mate connectors, a bespoke four-way smart subsea hub will interconnect the dynamic umbilical cables from each WEC to EMEC’s marine export cable. Power will then feed into EMEC’s onshore substation and on into the national grid.

The hub incorporates subsea switchgear enabling the disconnection of a single device while allowing the other two to continue generating.

Led by Fortum, the CEFOW project aims to prepare the Penguin technology for commercialization by developing the first grid-connected wave energy array in the UK, with a focus on lowering the levelized cost of energy and developing an efficient supply chain to support larger wave power projects in the future.

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