ORKNEY, Scotland 3/19/12 (PennWell) — The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) announces that the last remaining berth at its wave energy testing site has been taken.
European energy company Vattenfall has secured the site and will begin testing a single Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) machine at EMEC in 2014.
Vattenfall says it will purchase the machine from Edinburgh-based PWP later this year if it is confident PWP could make progress with its ocean energy development proposal, known as Aegir.
PWP announced a joint venture between it and Vattenfall earlier this year, although Vattenfall says progress on Aegir is, in part, predicated on a transmission cable being laid between the Shetland Islands and Scottish mainland. Such a line is essential for testing should the utility want to use the Aegis units for commercial energy production.
“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,” says Veijo Huusko, Vattenfall’s head of low emitting energy research and development.
SSE, transmission operator in the north of Scotland, has said it would construct such a high-voltage direct current cable once there was sufficient generation capacity to justify the investment, according to a release.
Pending successful testing of the Aegis unit at EMEC, Vattenfall says the machine will be taken to Shetland and in time be joined by more than nine additional machines. Vattenfall and PWP announced that they had secured a lease for the Shetland site in May 2011.
Several other energy providers have also expressed interest in PWP’s units, putting them one step closer to commercial viability, says Pelamis Chief Executive Officer Hornung Pederson.
“The fact we have three major utility customers on board is unique in the marine energy sector,” Pederson says. “Together they underline the importance of wave power as utility companies seek out clean, sustainable energy solutions, and this latest milestone in our joint venture with Vattenfall is the next exciting step in that journey.”