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).

Large-scale wave energy

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 90km2 site is located approximately 15km off the South Pembrokeshire coastline and has a wind resource of 10m/s. The proposed onshore grid connection is at Pembroke Dock Power Station.

Madeline Cowley, the PDZ Project Manager, says: "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."

According to the spokesperson, a number of developers have expressed their interest in using the Pembrokeshire site.

Phased installation

"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 commercialisation of both the wave and floating wind sectors," she adds.

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, WHL said.

Our position

The RYA continues to work closely with the maritime community to limit the impact of offshore renewable developments on the navigational rights and safety of recreational boating.

This ensures the widespread acknowledgement of the importance of navigational safety and regular engagement in the consultation process at the strategic level and on a site by site basis.

Recreational boaters can learn more about the development of the marine energy sector in Pembrokeshire, supported by Marine Energy Wales and the Pembroke Dock Marine project, at https://www.wavehub.co.uk/pembrokeshire-wave-zone.

You can also find the RYA's position on offshore wind and tidal energy installations on our current affairs hub.

Image source: Wave Hub