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Attendees at the conference in Penryn

Celebrated Marine Renewable Energy conference held at Penryn Campus

Some of the UK’s leading marine renewable energy experts have gathered at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus to boost floating wind, wave and tidal energy development.

The University of Exeter recently hosted the annual conference of the Partnership for Research In Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE), from July 6-7. 

The prominent event was co-sponsored by Marine-i which is designed to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.  

The PRIMaRE Conference covered a wide spectrum of issues relating to innovation in the marine and tidal energy sector, with the Universities of Exeter, Plymouth, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff and Bath, along with the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, resolving to conduct joint research projects in the coming years.  

Programme Director Professor Lars Johanning, from the University of Exeter, said: Marine-is pleased to support PRIMaRE, which will be an important academic research cluster aligned with the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence and give strong representation of academic research within this forum. It will support Celtic Sea Power and the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry in Cornwall and the South West, aiming to leverage and maximise the utilisation of the assets and resources in our region.” 

PRIMaRE is a network of world-class research institutions who have been set up to undertake research and development to address challenges facing the marine renewable energy industry at the regional, national and international level. Its remit covers all areas of marine renewable energy, including wave, tidal stream, tidal barrage, and offshore wind, as well as others such as offshore biomass production and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). 

Prof Johanning presented an innovative low carbon-cost choice decision tool to model the performance of Floating Offshore Wind energy farms.  

He said: “The UK Government has committed to a substantial future investment in 30GW of generation in the industry, with a target to achieve 60% UK content for projects commissioning from 20230 onwards, including a commitment to increased UK manufacturing.  University of Exeter has developed a tool to assess economic values and the environmental impacts of floating offshore wind farms. The assessment is based on life-cycle analyses, including five development stages: pre-development, manufacturing, assembly and installation, operations and maintenance (O&M), and decommissioning.  

“The tool is designed to help stakeholders such as wind farm developers and policymakers to facilitate decision-making processes in development projects. The tool provides the flexibility and opportunity to determine what combination of manufacturing, assembly, installation, and servicing locations yields the optimal combination of low cost, low carbon, and highest energy yield. Initial findings indicate that making use of local port infrastructure and local supply chain in the South West to perform maintenance operations is competitive with globally sourced solutions, while simultaneously halving lifetime Green House Gas emissions. This is a very exciting finding for the South West economy“  

The Conference also welcomed the news that Hexicon’s 32 MW TwinHub Floating Offshore Wind Project in Cornwall had been successful in Round 4 of the Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD). Hexicon secured a CfD at a strike price of GBP 87.30/MWh.   

Date: 8 July 2022

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