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Press Release: International WaTERS meet in Canary Islands

The fourth meeting of the International WaTERS (Wave and Tidal Energy Research Sites) network has taken place in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), in Spain, 30-31 October 2017.

Jointly hosted by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), the 4th International WaTERS workshop brought together 17 delegates spanning ten test centres and eight countries:

• DanWEC (Denmark)
• DMEC (Netherlands)
• EMEC (UK)
• HINMREC (Hawaii)
• Nagasaki – AMEC (Japan)
• PLOCAN (Spain)
• SEENEOH (France)
• SEM-REV (France)
• SmartBay (Ireland)
• Wave Hub (UK)

As a global network of open-water test sites, International WaTERS aims to identify common challenges and collaborative opportunities for test centres, enabling knowledge sharing and avoiding needless duplication of effort and resources.

The initiative was launched in 2013 during EMEC’s 10th birthday celebrations, having recognised that a decade of operating four test sites in Orkney had led to significant learning that would be beneficial to other test centres across the world to support the development of a global marine energy industry.

Following the inaugural meet in Orkney, delegates met in Halifax, Canada, in 2014, and in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2016.

Hosted by PLOCAN in Gran Canaria this time round, the discussions focused on knowledge sharing within transnational research programmes – including FORESEA, MaRINET2, Marinerg-i and MET-CERTIFIED – as well as looking at specific R&D areas that test centres can collaborate on to support the industry towards commercialisation.

Delegates were also treated to a visit to the PLOCAN multipurpose offshore platform, located in a 23 km2 marine test site, in which three wave energy devices have been already tested (Penguin, UNDIGEN and Welcome). Back on dry land, delegates then visited the construction site of the ELISA/ELICAN offshore wind project prototype which will be tested at PLOCAN in 2018. This structure is set to become the first bottom-fixed offshore wind turbine completely installed without costly and scarce heavy lift vessels.

Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, said:

“We set up International WaTERS as we think it’s vital for test centres around the world to collaborate and work to common standards. By developing joint research programmes to assess the different environments developers testing with us are working in we make the most of the infrastructure already built.

“Working together will help push forward the industry a lot faster than if we all work in isolation. The first couple of meetings were more focused on building relationships and getting to know the various test sites, and, we’re now seeing joint test centre projects in fruition, with an appetite to do a lot more together.”

Joaquin Brito, managing director of PLOCAN, said:

“The network of marine energy test sites provides a crucial tool to accelerate the industrial roll-out of the technologies. Our best asset is to provide support and share the expertise of the network to the technological developers, enabling them to take advantage of new opportunities where they emerge.

“Marine energy will also be a novel opportunity for islands and outermost regions to improve energy security and create jobs.”

About PLOCAN

Established in 2008, the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) is a joint initiative between the central Spanish government and the Government of the Canary Islands, with support from the European Regional Development Fund. Its mission is to provide a cost-effective combination of services, including housing, operations, data, and access to the offshore multi-use platform, the observatories and the test site facilities. The vision is to become a world-class infrastructure offering great value services, attracting national and international users, responding to the R&D&I challenges of the marine and maritime sector, and helping to maintain Spain and the EU at the forefront of this sector.

The PLOCAN facilities have been partially operational during the period 2013-2016. The multi-purpose offshore platform was moored in December 2016, but it is still in the process of furnishing and equipping. However, some instruments and vehicles associated with the platform have already been operated, and several accesses have been implemented. The test site has been hosting since 2013 several experiments and off-grid activities, but it is still pending to complete the installation of the electrical and communication infrastructure (expected to be commissioned in December 2017).

www.plocan.eu

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