Swedish wave power developer CorPower Ocean is to set up an R&D and manufacturing facility for a flagship demonstration project in northern Portuguese port city of Viana do Castelo, with an eye on having a three-unit array online by 2022-2023
The €16m ($18m) investment, coming after an agreement with port authority ADP to build an ocean energy industrial hub tooled for fabrication, assembly and servicing of commercial scale wave energy converters (WECs), will advance the Swedish developer HiWave-5 project, which is developing its ‘point-absorber’ type device.
“This is a crucial stage in our pursuit to develop a new class of high efficiency WECs," said CorPower Ocean CEO Patrik Möller.
“CorPower’s goal is to successfully introduce certified and warrantied WECs to the market by 2024, making wave energy a bankable technology that can attract mainstream renewable project finance.”
Möller added: “Wave energy can play a fundamental role in Portugal’s transition to 100% renewable energy, while providing a platform to drive Portuguese exports and long-term investment opportunities for local supply chains.
Viana do Castelo – which also hosted Principle Power’s WindFloat protoype between 2011-2016 via a coastal substation – was chosen, he said, in part for the “long-term potential to develop a supply and service capacity for commercial wave energy farms”.
A spokesperson for APD said: "This project is in line with European sustainability objectives and is a considerable step towards decarbonisation and large-scale implementation of clean energy.
“We intend to serve as an example, for other European ports, in what regards to the utilization of existing infrastructures for similar purposes.”
The WEC design from CorPower – which captures energy from the rise and fall of waves using a buoy tethered to the seabed with a tensioned mooring system – is engineering to be built in 10MW clusters, with 30 units connecting to a collection hub through which the power is exported to shore via 33/66kV cables, such as are used on offshore wind farms.
CorPower, which announced last year that is would be developing its technology with Ireland's Simply Blue Energy, said modelling for a theoretical 50MW array of its WECs deployed off Scotland “indicated a carbon intensity already as low as 31.4 g CO2 / kWh based on the first prototype generation design alone”.
An EU-funded project to devise a novel power take-off system that would boost the performance of many of the sector’s soon-to-be commercialised devices, calculates wave power could be on-track to reach a levelised cost of energy competitive with offshore wind and new-build gas.
Wave power is enjoying a recent upsurge in industrial interest after a slump in the emerging market in 2014 that led to early pioneering players including Pelamis and Aquamarine Power going into receivership.
Estimates of the size and speed of the potential wave and tidal energy roll-out around the world range widely. Ocean Energy Europe , the industry’s representative body in Europe, is targeting 100GW of installed capacity by 2050, meeting 10% of member states’ power demand.