With the United Kingdom planning to shut down all of its coal power plants by 2025, the country is ramping up investment in renewable energy sources—including waves. Energy experts see potential harnessing the waters surrounding Great Britain, starting with Cornwall’s tumultuous surf.
The European Regional Development Fund recently granted about £9.5 million ($15.5 million) to the Australian company Carnegie Wave Energy to install a wave-energy-harvesting buoy at Wave Hub, what will be world’s largest and most technologically advanced test site for offshore energy production.
Carnegie’s specially designed generators look like water tanks submerged just below the surface of the sea. Rising and falling with the waves, each buoy converts the kinetic energy of its motion into electricity.
The underwater design enables the buoys to better withstand the extreme swells of storms. But they also won’t mar the ocean view for locals who might oppose offshore wind farms for aesthetic reasons.
Carnegie’s first buoy at Wave Hub is set to be deployed in 2018, with a full year of observation and testing. The project’s second phase would begin by 2021, eventually costing an estimated $90 million (£60 million) and generating 15 “zero-emission” megawatts each year from the motion of the ocean.