Wave Hub seeks consent for 200-metre floating turbine
HAYLE could become the first place in the UK to host a floating wind turbine after a formal application was submitted for an offshore energy test rig.
Wave Hub, the offshore renewable energy test facility, has applied for consent to install and operate a floating wind platform demonstrator 16km off the shore in St Ives Bay.
If successful in the bid, the 200-metre-high turbine would be the first device to be plugged into one of the four berths of the underwater Wave Hub to test the viability of generating energy from the sea.
Wave Hub plans to operate the demonstrator at the station for a period of ten years and, if accepted, testing could start in 2015.
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Claire Gibson, managing director of Wave Hub, said: "We have been in discussion with key consultees about the design of the demonstrator over the past few months and our consent application takes on board these requirements.
"The UK Government's recently published offshore wind strategy recognises the enormous potential of the industry and we are excited at the prospect of Wave Hub playing a part in its development."
Wave Hub, which is publicly owned by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was selected earlier in the year by Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) as the preferred location to test an offshore wind platform.
American naval architecture and marine engineering firm Glosten Associates is designing the structure.
It is hoped Irish firm Ocean Energy Ltd will provide the first device to be plugged in at the hub.
A second wave energy device is being tested in Falmouth and Ms Gibson confirmed that another client, which she would not name, had come forward to take the third berth.
Addressing concerns about the impact of the huge turbine on the view across St Ives Bay, Ms Gibson said it would barely be visible from the shore.
She added:"This is a unique opportunity for Cornwall. We have had a positive response so far from the local community."
Ms Gibson admitted that the process of harnessing wave energy through technology had been slower than the company had anticipated, and the plans to build a floating wind turbine were a way of responding to the position in which the sector has found itself at the moment.
A consultation on the scheme has started and details of the application are available on the Marine Management Organisation public register at www.marinelicensing.marinemanagement.org.uk/mmo/fox/MMOpublicregister