Wave Buoy rides the waves

Developers of potential new wave energy technologies have, today, been given access to the first set of data about the wave energy climate off the north Cornish coast of the UK.

Developers of potential new wave energy technologies have been given access to the first set of data about the wave energy climate off the north Cornish coast of the UK from the Wave Buoy project, funded by the npower Juice Fund.

Regen SW, the renewable energy agency for the South West of England, initiated the project in January 2005 to help speed up the installation of the UK’s first wave farms to generate clean electricity.

The data gathered from the Wave Buoy will help wave energy device designers, and potential investors, understand the environment within which demonstration wave energy projects might operate, while enabling more accurate predictions about the amount of clean energy that could be produced.

The buoy, which records waves, tidal current and the presence of marine wildlife shows strong wave energy potential in the area with an average wave height (Hmax) of 2.3m over the three-month period.

The largest wave recorded (Hmax) was 8.8m (or 28 ft) high on the 13 February 2005. Wave Buoy continues to collect data at its location in the South West, identifying the great potential that lies in the Atlantic.

The Wave Buoy is moored at the proposed site of the south west Wave Hub – an electrical ‘socket’ that could be located approximately 20 km off the Cornish coast, to which arrays of wave energy converters could be connected.

Development undertaken by Regen SW has proven the feasibility of Wave Hub and further detailed work is underway to enable Wave Hub to be commissioned in mid 2007.

Before the Wave Buoy project, wave energy predictions had been estimated by computer models using Met Office data.

The new data collected will provide more accurate information about tidal and wave environments to help establish wave energy devices off the north Cornish coast within the next three years.