Wave energy converter is a “tremendous milestone” for marine energy sector

Finnish renewable energy developer Wello, has successfully generated electricity from its “Penguin” wave energy converter (WEC) and fed it into the national grid.

The WEC was installed in waters off the west coast of Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC’s) grid-connected wave test site at the beginning of last month (March).

This is the first of three WEC’s due to be installed at EMEC over the next three years as part of the CEFOW (Clean Energy from Ocean Waves) project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. 

The generation of power from Wellow’s Penguin represents a major milestone within the CEFOW project, which is led by clean energy firm Fortum and aims to develop the first grid-connected wave energy array in the UK.

Fortum’s senior project manager, Mikko Muoniovaara, said the Wello office in Orkney has been “buzzing with people eager to watch the screens showing the live generation feeds”.

“This last month has proven the viability of the Penguin concept, as not only can the technology survive in the harsh waves around Orkney, but it can generate power from them. For Fortum, this is very promising progress.”

EMEC managing director, Neil Kermode, added it was a “tremendous milestone” for Wello and all CEFOW partners, and also “for the wave energy sector as a whole”.

“Not only has Wello’s Penguin survived heavy swell and stormy conditions since being deployed, it is now generating power into the local grid. 

“Congratulations to everyone who has worked towards this moment, and we look forward to the future learning that will come from this project,” added Kermode.

Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, commented: “The export of first power from any project into the national grid is a very exciting moment – made even more exciting when it comes from a brand new technology like this. 

“It’s fantastic to see more wave devices making progress in Scotland and this latest milestone for Wello’s Penguin shows that companies from around the globe continue to be attracted to our world-leading facilities.”

The CEFOW consortium spans the full value chain including research organisations, wave converter technology developers, marine service providers and a large multi-national utility company.

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