Energy giant Vattenfall today announced that it had signed up the last remaining berth at Scotland’s world leading ocean energy research and development centre on Orkney to test a Scottish wave energy conversion machine.
Vattenfall hopes to start testing a single Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) machine at the European Marine Energy Centre in 2014.
The leading European energy company also confirmed previous statements that it would purchase a single machine from the Edinburgh-based PWP later this year if it was confident that it could make progress with its ocean energy development proposal, known as Aegir, off the Shetland Islands. That progress is, in part, predicated on the expectation of an electricity cable being laid between the islands and the mainland of Scotland.
The agreement will be announced later today by Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy at the RenewableUK Wave & Tidal Conference in Edinburgh.
Veijo Huusko, Vattenfall’s Head of Low Emitting Energy R&D, said: “If Vattenfall is to use ocean energy to support its long term shift to low carbon generation it needs to be confident that the technology it uses will be safe, reliable and productive.
“That is why we plan to purchase Pelamis Wave Power’s latest, second-generation machine and test it at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. However, the final decision on purchasing a machine for testing will, in part, be based on our expectation of there being an interconnector cable being laid between the Shetland Islands and the Scottish mainland.”
He added: “EMEC is the place to be for international ocean energy research and development with its world class facilities and ideal natural conditions for wave power. Vattenfall is really pleased to have reserved the final remaining berth in Orkney and we look forward to starting installation of the machine in 2014 and working closely with the EMEC team in Stromness.”
Mr Huusko concluded: “Scotland remains the most attractive place to explore the possibilities of ocean energy thanks to strong political backing, appropriate financial support and an exceptional energy resource.”
Fergus Ewing MSP, the Scottish Government’s Energy Minister, said: “Scotland is blessed with some of the world's greatest marine energy resources and we are the leading location for wave and tidal energy development. Vattenfall's announcement today represents a further significant milestone towards the deployment of commercially viable arrays and is a strong endorsement of Pelamis Wave Power’s technology and EMEC’s unrivalled expertise.
“Vattenfall’s ambitious plans for future development will contribute towards Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets and create new and exciting opportunities for economic development.”
Vattenfall is in a joint venture with PWP to develop an up to ten megawatt wave power project off the Shetland Islands. The project, known as Aegir, is currently conducting environmental and resource assessments ahead of an expected planning application to Marine Scotland in 2014.
It is hoped that if testing of the prototype is successful; if planning permission has been gained; and, if there is a positive investment decision by the partners, that the machine will be taken to Shetland and be joined over time by more than nine machines.
If the operation of that pilot array proves successful Aegir would investigate further expansion off Shetland. Vattenfall recently signed a partnership with the Shetland Council and Shetland Charitable Trust to work jointly to investigate such opportunities.
SSE, the Transmission Operator in the north of Scotland, has said that it would progress a connection between the Shetland Islands and the mainland using a High Voltage Direct Current cable once there was sufficient generation capacity to justify the investment.