The Scottish and Welsh ocean energy test centres have strengthened ties to expand the UK’s test centre network.
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), based in Orkney, Scotland, has signed an agreement with Marine Energy Wales to provide further support to the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
This builds on an initial collaboration between the two parties in 2018 which resulted in EMEC providing input into the initial feasibility stage of the META project. EMEC guided the development of META providing strategic advice on site selection, developer requirements, operational procedures and commercial development, drawing on EMEC’s 17 years of experience and knowledge in setting up and operating ocean energy test sites.
META consists of eight pre-consented, non-grid connected sites located in and around the Milford Haven Waterway, de-risking the development of marine energy projects by providing the opportunity to test scaled devices, sub-assemblies and components. The sites are accessible yet still representative of real sea environments with phase 1 of the project launched in September 2019.
Jess Hooper, Marine Energy Wales’ lead said:
“We see our collaboration with EMEC as really important in developing our META project and one that will strengthen the UK’s low carbon innovation offer. We are also continuing to work closely with the ORE Catapult to ensure META supports the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence and the wider £60M Pembroke Dock Marine Swansea City Deal project.
“Both phase 1 and phase 2 of META will support wave, tidal, floating wind and research into wider blue economy activity”.
EMEC will now support the implementation of META’s processes and procedures to ensure safe and efficient operation of the facility, providing guidance on accident incident investigation, developer lifecycle, data acquisition, permitting, consenting, installation, and decommissioning.
Deepening the collaboration between the two test sites, EMEC’s Saul Young will be seconded to work at META for six months to provide on the ground support for the day-to-day operation of the test facility, supporting META clients through their testing programme.
Rob Flynn, EMEC’s Commercial Manager said:
“The UK has led the world in developing ocean energy, with Scotland and Wales at the front of this charge. Demonstration facilities like EMEC and META are key innovation hubs for progressing the sector and we’re keen to work with Jess and her team to make sure we’re working together in our efforts.
“EMEC has been operating for almost two decades so we have a lot of knowledge on what to do, and what not to do, that we can share with META as it gets off the ground. By working together we can help accelerate this industry and support the UK and the world in reaching its net-zero targets.”
Bethan Simes, Project Coordinator for META said:
“META is one part of Wales’ strategy to use research and innovation to develop future solutions to climate change. Collaboration is critical to ensure we move innovation to commercial realisation and it is positive to see Scotland and Wales working together to progress this. META will also support our array scale test site plans at Morlais and Pembroke and continue to attract global innovators into Wales.”