Archive for the ‘DECC’ Category
Western Morning News – November 10, 2011
The Westcountry’s push to be the UK’s first “marine park” has been boosted after officials sanctioned a wave energy “nursery” in Falmouth bay.
Falmouth Harbour Commissioners and the Crown Estate have signed a lease to create FabTest, a wave power test site allowing engineers to develop nascent technology in the water.
Proven devices could then graduate to the Wave Hub array, the world’s largest commercial wave energy facility off the West Cornwall coast.
FabTest is the latest piece in the jigsaw of the Westcountry’s growing wave energy industry, which includes electricity generation, academia and engineering expertise scattered across Devon and Cornwall.
Mark Sansom, chief executive of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, said FabTest, conceived by experts at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, was licensed to test up to three devices at a time and would not interfere with marine traffic.
The “nursery” will help meet the challenge set by Energy Minister Greg Barker for the South West to prove it should be the country’s first “marine park”.
Johnny Gowdy, programme director of Regen SW, the region’s green energy lobbying group, said: “FabTest is another essential component in the region’s growing offer to the marine energy industry.”
Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council are working up plans for the marine energy park. It is understood the South West is the front-runner, although there is thought to be competition from Scotland.
The park would be “virtual”, spread across sites in Devon and Cornwall. Wave Hub, which is expected to generate electricity from next year, is central to the proposal.
It will also include University of Exeter expertise, a business park under construction in Hayle, Cornwall, and the University of Plymouth, which is building two Olympic pool-sized testing tanks to open next year.
Advantages of the status will be similar to those of the Government’s 23 enterprise zones, such as more local control over planning consent.
The region could also be at the head of the queue for Government cash from the £20 million marine energy development fund and the Regional Growth Fund.
It is thought the Energy Minister could make a decision in the new year.