Photo: Penguin wave energy device (Courtesy of Wello)

Penguin to spend winter in UK as tow hits delay

The towing of Wello’s Penguin wave energy converter from the United Kingdom to Spain has come to a stop, and is now rescheduled for early spring in 2021.

A photo of the Penguin wave energy device (Courtesy of Wello)
Penguin wave energy device (Courtesy of Wello)

The decision to halt the operation comes after three weeks of towing from Orkney in Scotland, to Armintza on the Spanish north coast, where the 600kW device was scheduled to be deployed for testing at the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) later in 2020.

The device got as far as Falmouth, south England, before the tugboat’s captain, in consultation with Saipem engineers, who were in charge of the towing operation, decided that the weather window was not long enough to tow it safely across the English Channel and Bay of Biscay to Bilbao.

The 44-meter Penguin device will therefore remain in the UK during the winter, awaiting for the more favorable weather to continue its journey towards Spain, said the Finland-based Wello.

During that time, both Wello and its project partner Saipem committed to work together to make sure that the next tow and commissioning move along as smoothly as possible, and to get the wave energy converter deployed at the earliest opportunity.

“Now with this short delay there is a chance for us shift our focus for a moment. We are now allocating more time and resources to working on other projects and technology development. Wello is already planning a full round of tank testing for the next iteration of the Penguin. Saipem and ENEL Green Power have already expressed their desire to join Wello in this process providing keen insight and support during this process”, Wello said in a statement.

Saipem’s contribution will be especially useful with regards to the manufacturing process of the Penguin’s hull and moorings. The hull design optimizations already started with first tweaks already made, according to Wello.

“All parties involved were hoping to get the Penguin in Basque water in time for winter. This news, however, does not stop us, and we are still going to continue moving forward. The Penguin set for the Basque shores shall continue this path and provide more proof of the commercial readiness of the Penguin”, concluded Wello.

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