Fred. Olsen device on FaBTest

The Fred. Olsen wave energy converter which is currently deployed at FaBTest

Marine renewable experts celebrate Falmouth’s pioneering test facility

Experts from Cornwall’s marine renewable industry got together recently to celebrate the further development of FaBTest – Falmouth Bay’s pioneering marine renewable energy device testing facility.

The University of Exeter hosted an event to inform stakeholders of the significant activity which has taken place in order to secure the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant of £549,000 to further develop the FaBTest site, and the opportunities this will bring to device developers and the wider supply chain across the region.

Dr Lars Johanning, Head of Renewable Energy at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, explained: “This funding is a real boost for the industry. Our long term aim is to accelerate growth in the emerging offshore renewable energy sector, to generate research and create new knowledge and build a base for sustainable jobs in the sector. FaBTest has an important role to play in delivering economic growth in the region and today’s event will help set out the business plan for the coming years, and highlight the opportunities available to device developers and the wider supply chain across the region.”

The Regional Growth Fund is managed locally by Cornwall Development Company on behalf of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Cornwall Council.

LEP chairman Chris Pomfret said: “Offshore renewable energy is a global market opportunity for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and one of the areas where the LEP intends to prioritise investment in research and innovation as part of the next European funding programme. The combination of unique assets like FabTest and Wave Hub give us a significant competitive advantage and it’s important that we build on that to create jobs and opportunity in the future.”

Mark Sansom, Harbour Master and Chief Executive of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, said: "As a Trust Port, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners plays an important role in planning for the strategic long-term viability and future prosperity of the Port. We work proactively to promote sustainable activities and developments within the harbour and the FaBTest is an example of just that. FaBTest is an exciting project that is putting Cornwall on the map for its range of offshore renewable energy services and we're delighted to be involved."

Mike Reynolds, Port Operations Director at A&P, said: “If the marine renewable energy industry is to develop and grow in Cornwall test sites like FaBTest are vital. A&P has identified the growth of this sector as being a very important opportunity for new business. With FaBTest easily accessible from our facilities it will help us take these opportunities as they arise.”

At the event delegates heard from marine developers including representatives from Mojo Maritime, Fred Olsen and A&P as well as government agencies and Sarah Newton, Member of Parliament for Truro & Falmouth. Discussions surrounded the marine renewable and future economic landscape, the FaBTest development plan and funding opportunities for the marine renewable energy sector in Cornwall.

FaBTest is a two square kilometre pre-consented area of sea situated between three and five kilometres offshore in Falmouth Bay. It enables wave energy device developers to test components, concepts or full scale devices in a moderate wave climate with excellent access to nearby port infrastructure.

Date: 5 December 2013

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