The project partners behind Shetland’s first wave power scheme said that the Scottish Government decision to approve a major wind farm on the island gives the proposal a significant boost.
The 10 megawatt (MW) Aegir Wave Power scheme, backed by European energy company Vattenfall and Edinburgh based technology developer Pelamis Wave Power (PWP), could only proceed if the islands were connected to the Scottish mainland with an electricity cable. The decision to approve the 370MW Viking Wind Farm by the Scottish Government is likely to prompt SSE, the transmission network operator, to invest in the interconnector.
Harvey Appelbe, Vattenfall’s Ocean Energy Program Manager for the UK & Ireland, said: “Vattenfall is working with Pelamis Wave Power to develop a pre-commercial wave energy array off the Shetland Islands. It has also reserved a berth at the European Marine Energy Centre to test a single PWP machine. Progress on both has been predicated on the expectation of an interconnector cable being laid between the Shetland Islands and the Scottish mainland. The decision by the Scottish Government to consent the Viking Wind Farm significantly increases the likelihood that an interconnector will be installed paving the way for us to start site assessment work and consider investment in developing Shetland’s significant marine renewable resources.”
Aegir Project Development Manager Andrew Scott said: “This is fantastic news for the future development of our 10MW Aegir Wave Farm, and a big step forward to securing grid connection for marine projects in Shetland.
“Shetland and its communities are blessed with a huge marine renewable resource and we are working towards harnessing some of this energy to create a new exciting industry exporting clean power.”
In preparation for work at Shetland, last month Vattenfall said it hopes to order a single Pelamis Wave Power machine to test it at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2014.
Aegir now plans to ramp up environmental and other site assessments in consultation with the local stakeholders, ahead of an expected planning application to Marine Scotland in 2014.
It is hoped that if testing of the Pelamis machine is successful at EMEC; if planning permission has been gained for Aegir; and, if there is a positive investment decision by the project partners, that the machine will be taken to Shetland and be joined over time by nine other machines to form the first wave farm on Shetland. If the first Aegir pilot farm proves successful, Vattenfall hopes to investigate further wave projects off Shetland utilising the interconnector capacity unused by Viking. Vattenfall recently signed a partnership with the Shetland Council and Shetland Charitable Trust to work jointly to evaluate such opportunities for the benefit of the community and industry alike.
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.
Subsea World News Staff , April 06, 2012; Image: Pelamis Wave