OIL, gas, wind, solar – and now wave. Milford Haven looks set to expand its energy production credentials again when it becomes the testing site for a groundbreaking wave power device.
Swansea-based firm Marine Power Systems (MPS) has picked the waterway to trail a quarter-scale prototype of its WaveSub device, which it hopes could significantly reduce the cost of generating energy from waves, making it a more viable commercial alternative.
MPS managing director Dr Gareth Stockman said the device would be manufactured and assembled in Milford Haven, using local firms, before going into the water at the end of this year.
After a two-month initial test period, the device will then be moved further out to sea, so MPS can check how the device performs in terms of efficiency, ‘survivability’, and cost.
If these criteria are met, MPS hopes to reach full-scale demonstrations in the next two to three years, with the long-term aim of establishing a permanent manufacturing base in Milford Haven.
Dr Gareth Stockman, Managing Director of MPS, said:
“Milford is showing that it has the ability to do this,”
“They’ve been doing offshore oil and gas for decades; they’ve got a lot of experienced engineers, and the port has all the resources we would need.”
Dr Stockman said wave energy had a huge part to play in the future of energy production.
“Waves, unlike wind, do not disappear when the wind stops blowing,”
“The UK has a fantastic wave energy resource, and exploiting this will allow the UK to have security of supply and contribute to the government’s renewable energy targets, as well as allowing us to reduce carbon emissions.”
In development since 2008, MPS has progressed thanks to more than £1m of private investment, topped up Welsh Government funding of £359,000.
David Jones, project director of Marine Energy Pembrokeshire – which works to promote Pembrokeshire to renewable energy firms – welcomed the news.
“Pembrokeshire is an ideal location for marine energy technology developers with significant resources close to world class deep water port facilities, transferable energy related skills and a supply chain experienced in constructing Wales’ first tidal stream device.”
“MPS’s timescale could fit neatly with the development of the Pembrokeshire Wave Demonstration Zone which is already attracting wide international interest.”
“The sector has already created jobs and economic growth in Wales with the future looking very promising.”
“With £80.3M of EU structural funding set aside for marine energy, increasing developer interest, Welsh based marine energy developers and Demonstration Zones for both wave and tide Wales is well placed to play a leading role in the worldwide marine energy sector.”