Converting a World War Two water carrier barge into a 21st century vessel that generates electricity from the power of the sea is among the innovative work of a Pembrokeshire business making waves across the world.
Now Mainstay Marine Solutions – based in Pembroke Dock – has welcomed the opening of the nearby Marine Energy Test Area (META) phase one as an important milestone in an on-going drive to place Wales at the forefront of the world’s blue economy.
Forming part of the Pembroke Dock Marine project due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal, META aims to help marine energy developers deploy, develop and de-risk their marine energy technologies within the Milford Haven Waterway.
Led by Marine Energy Wales, META will enable early stage testing in the journey to the eventual commercial operation of marine energy devices. Phase one consists of five sites directly adjacent to Pembroke Port.
Originally a boat building business, Mainstay Marine Solutions diversified into the marine renewable sector about four years ago with the construction of a tidal energy device for Tidal Energy Ltd.
As well as the conversion of the World War Two water carrier barge into a marine energy generating vessel for a company called Wave-Tricity, their other work includes the fabrication and assembly of a wave energy device for Australia-based AMOG Consulting.
The company is also currently working on 75-metre long wave energy conversion device with membranes that pulse to generate electricity.
Charlotte Wood, Business Development Marketing Manager at Mainstay Marine Solutions, said:
“META is very important for us because it will further develop a marine energy hub in Pembroke Dock that will help de-risk projects for developers coming into the region by allowing them to dip test their marine energy devices. Until we get devices ‘wet’, we don’t know what problems will arise, so META is a great opportunity to do this.
“Much of our world’s surface is made up of water, so it makes perfect sense to use our seas because they offer an energy resource that’s clean and predictable.
“Pembroke Dock is an ideal location to deliver marine energy projects, thanks to our coastal expertise and the availability of local supply chain businesses which will also help create jobs and tackle deprivation.
“South West Wales is already a pioneer in the marine energy sector, with facilities like META phase one giving the opportunity to further grow a worldwide reputation for marine energy innovation and excellence.”
The £1.9 million META project is being supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, alongside the Coastal Communities Fund.
As well as offering sites for the testing of marine energy equipment, META will also support research and innovation, working closely with Welsh universities and the ORE Catapult-led Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE).
Both META and MEECE are part of Pembroke Dock Marine – a collaborative project that will develop a world class centre for the development of marine energy in Pembrokeshire. The project, which is due to be part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal, also includes the Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone and infrastructure upgrades at Pembroke Port.