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Wavestar future on knife edge

Brondby outfit to scrap its half-scale 110kW prototype

Wavestar future on knife edge image

Danish wave developer Wavestar is significantly scaling back its activities after pulling the plug on a Horizon 2020-backed 1MW project in the Belgian North Sea.

As reported in April by subscription-only newsletter reNEWS, Wavestar was unable to find investors to match-fund a €20.7m grant awarded last year by the European Commission for the Upwave project.

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    The Brondby outfit will now decommission and scrap its half-scale 110kW prototype at Hanstholm off the northern Danish coast to save costs.

    Technical director Laurent Marquis said Wavestar still hoped to find investors to secure its long-term future but development of the technology is on ice.

    “We are not shutting down but if we feel it is going nowhere the company will stop,” he added.

    Potential investors in Wavestar were deterred by the lack of a feed-in tariff for wave energy for the Upwave project, said Marquis.

    “Nobody can make a case for a return today and we have been unable to find a long-term investor willing to take the risk.”

    The Upwave project due online by July 2019 was expected to feature a 1MW C6-1000 wave device placed between wind turbines to increase the overall output of BelWind offshore wind farm.

    Under the terms of the Horizon programme, Wavestar needed to match 30% of the project cost, around €10m.

    Wavestar received 30% of the €20.7m grant upfront and the company will now repay this sum minus project costs accrued prior to abandoning the scheme.

    Marquis added Wavestar has invested €40m in the past 13 years.

    “Our technology works but we know it is too expensive, so maybe it is not the right technology and it’s not for us. We cannot find investors so we must take the consequences.”

    Image: Wavestar

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