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Swedish ocean energy leader CorPower reflects on momentous 2023

Energize Editors

Energize Editors

As 2023 draws to a close, CorPower Ocean is reflecting on a momentous year which saw its first full scale device hitting Portuguese waters followed by significant commercial breakthroughs with national utilities and supermajors. 

After resuming its deployment program in July engineers swiftly began testing operational methods for connecting and disconnecting the C4 device. This followed the successful installation of the UMACK anchor and subsea electrical export cables in mid-2022 and the completion of the C4 assembly and Pre-Deployment Check (PDC) program at the quay-side launch pad in Viana do Castelo in December 2022. 

Throughout the summer period, innovative methods for pulling down and mating the C4 device to the UMACK anchor were verified using a fully surface operated installation sequence. The next phase of the program saw the C4 device taken through cycles of testing safety, control and grid functions. 

By autumn, the WEC was officially installed at the Aguçadoura site and after connecting to the pre-installed UMACK anchor, the device was linked to the Portuguese national grid through a subsea export cable. The system shortly underwent commissioning, with functions and operational modes being gradually verified. Operations and Maintenance (O&M) methods for offshore service access, device retrieval and tow-back to the on-land service base in Viana do Castelo were also tested. 

Rapid progress continued with the C4 notching up seven weeks of continuous operation accelerating through commissioning and exporting power to the grid. In addition, the C4 demonstrated its capacity to make autonomous decisions transitioning between different machine states according to ocean conditions, which are monitored by onboard sensors and control systems. 

Away from the ocean, further wins came in the commercial field, as Ireland’s premier energy company ESB partnered with Simply Blue Group to co-develop the Saoirse Wave Energy project, featuring CorPower Ocean’s technology. The 50:50 joint venture will allow the companies to pool significant expertise and resource to deliver the pioneering 5MW wave farm array, located adjacent to the Co Clare coast. In July, the project also secured a groundbreaking €39M from the EU Innovation Fund — a historic milestone for the emerging wave energy sector. 

Another major development saw global Steel company SSAB signing an agreement with CorPower to explore the development of one of the world’s first wave energy power plants using fossil-free steel. More recently, French multi-energy major, TotalEnergies announced it is joining CorPower Ocean’s Pilot Access Program to evaluate the technology as a solution for decarbonization. The partnership has special emphasis on installation and operational methods, where TotalEnergies’ engineers bring world-class experience installing and maintaining offshore structures. 

As winter descended, CorPower was able to successfully verify its C4 Survival Mode after weathering a series of record-breaking storms along the Portuguese coast. With major depressions building up over the Atlantic, Storm Babet and Aline unleashed waves up to 13 meters, providing an ideal opportunity to test the C4’s design principle for robust operation in extreme weather

Just weeks later, the C4 device set a new record in Storm Survivability withstanding waves up to 18metres (60ft) as Portugal’s coastline was placed on Red Alert by storm Domingos. The C4 system was monitored from a control centre in Stockholm where reliable operation was confirmed with motion and loads well within design limits.  

Further progress came in the form of ISO 9001 certification through DNV – one of the leading global providers of accredited management systems certification and training. It marked an important step reflecting the ongoing commitment to enhancing internal procedures and processes, and dedication to maintaining and improving quality standards. 

As we look ahead to 2024, we will continue building on this momentum. Now is the time for project developers, utilities and energy majors to identify the most attractive sites and develop them into investment ready projects to gain a competitive edge in the wave energy market. 

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