TWO CORNISH companies have won the international contract to work on a £4million project to develop a floating wind turbine at Wave Hub - the renewable energy test facility ten miles off the Hayle coast.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) confirmed earlier this year that Wave Hub had been chosen as its preferred location to develop a floating offshore wind turbine that could – just – be visible from shore.
Wave Hub could host the project as early as 2015 and it would remain in place for 8-10 years.
Porthtowan based KeynMorLift (KML) and Penryn based LDD have been granted contracts to work on the pioneering installation for lead the Energy Technologies Institute that will site a six megawatt wind turbine off the Hayle coast.
The two companies have been appointed as part of the £4 million Front End Engineering Study commissioned and funded by the ETI which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The ETI will then decide whether to invest up to £21m in the construction and deployment of the demonstrator project which would occupy one of Wave Hub’s four berths.
The ETI and US contractors Glosten have confirmed that KML and LDD have won the contract to carry out studies for anchoring and subsea installation for the turbine.
KML is a worldwide marine contractor and vessel owner specialising in shoreline, coastal and offshore marine operations. The company runs its main administrative base from Porthtowan and a number of its vessels from Falmouth.
LDD is a worldwide offshore drilling and specialist marine construction contractor, with headquarters in Penryn and a base in Perth, Australia.
Wave Hub managing director Claire Gibson said: “We are delighted that KML and LDD have been chosen by Glosten to work on this innovative floating wind project at Wave Hub.”
“It is testimony to the experience we have in the marine engineering sector in Cornwall that two local companies have successfully collaborated to win this essential work, in a competitive global marketplace.”
Nikki Meek, business and project development manager for KML, said: “We were delighted to collaborate on this exciting project as both ourselves and LDD are Cornish companies, working within half an hour of each other. We were able to put together a bid which reflected the complimentary skills and experience that both our companies can offer to this project.
“We’ll be jointly carrying out a feasibility study into the anchoring and installation works, and KML will be providing the extensive marine operations experience, while LDD will be bringing to the table their large diameter drill design and build knowledge and offshore drilling experience.”
LDD vice president Mark Richards said: “As a specialist marine foundation contractor, LDD is delighted to be given the opportunity to collaborate with Glosten and KML on the development of the Pelastar floating wind turbine project. As a Cornish based company that usually works internationally, we’re passionate about delivering success to this exciting project at the Cornish Wave Hub site.”
Wave Hub is a giant "socket" on the seabed connected to the national grid on shore by an underwater cable, into which up to four different wave energy devices can be "plugged" and tested at any one time.
It has a capacity of 20MW, equivalent to the electricity needs of more than 7,000 homes.
Wave Hub is publicly-owned by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) which has set up a stand-alone operating company, Wave Hub Limited, based in Foundry Square in Hayle, to manage the day-to-day operation of the testing facility.
The plan is to investigate whether floating windfarms could play a cost-effective role in meeting the UK’s future energy needs.