Wave Hub Limited (WHL) has submitted an environmental scoping report to Natural Resources Wales and the Marine Management Organisation for the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone (PDZ).
The report considers a mix of wave energy and floating wind technology with a maximum total electricity generation of 100MW and asks for a formal opinion on what issues should be covered by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone is an offshore site leased by The Crown Estate to WHL for the deployment of large scale wave energy arrays. The site is 90 sq km, located approximately 15 km off the South Pembrokeshire coastline and the proposed onshore grid connection is at Pembroke Dock Power Station.
Madeline Cowley, the PDZ project manager, said “This is an important milestone for the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone and marine energy in Wales. The feasibility study commissioned by WHL has concluded there would be a benefit in sharing the PDZ site and grid infrastructure with a more commercially developed project. Floating wind is developing rapidly and there are very few existing demonstration sites for this technology in the UK. We know the PDZ would be a good location to test floating wind as it has a good wind resource and the water depth is suitable for most types of floating wind technology.
“We have received a lot of interest from developers looking for sites to deploy at. By sharing the PDZ with floating wind we will be able to broaden access to finance for the project, bring forward development of the site and enable a phased installation of technology that will support commercialization of both the wave and floating wind sectors.”
David Jones, the Marine Energy Wales project director, said “The development of wave technology in Wales has already achieved significant milestones, with two devices now built and undergoing initial sea trials. Key to achieving commercial success is the test and demonstration of this technology at scale in real sea conditions and at a grid connected site. The PDZ will provide the necessary infrastructure for this technology to be demonstrated in Welsh waters, building on the Marine Energy Test Area we are also developing in the Haven.”
The Scoping Opinion will determine which key issues the EIA should focus on and what environmental surveys need to be undertaken. A consent application could be submitted in 2020, consent granted in 2022 and the first electricity could be generated by 2024.