Following its manufacture and testing in Leith, ScottishPower Renewables’ new P2 Pelamis wave power device set sail for the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney today (Sunday 6th November). It will undergo further trials as part of a unique cross-industry collaboration project with a similar device managed by E.ON. The company received a grant from the Scottish Government’s Wave and Tidal Energy Support Scheme (WATES) to partly fund the construction of the device.
The machine, which measures 180m in length, converts the motion of waves into electricity via hydraulic cylinders. The power generated is then fed back to shore using an undersea cable. The P2 is the second generation machine developed by Pelamis Wave Power, and is expected to be considerably more efficient than the first generation machine. A single P2 device can generate 750kW of electricity – and throughout the year provide enough power to supply approximately 500 homes.
It will join another P2 Pelamis machine installed in Orkney last year by E.ON. This collaborative approach is seen as a step forward for the marine energy industry. The two machines will operate in tandem, allowing the companies to better understand how an array of devices would operate. The information gathered from the trials will help the companies to consider how larger, more commercial schemes could be designed.
Alan Mortimer, head of policy at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “This is a major achievement for ScottishPower Renewables, and we are delighted to see the Pelamis device going in to the water following a lot of hard work. The new P2 device has built considerably on the original concept. The initial testing has been encouraging, and we look forward to seeing the device working in collaboration with E.ON’s machine in Orkney.
“The waters around Scotland have excellent potential to generate a substantial amount of electricity, both from wave and from tidal power. We are now at a crucial stage in realising this potential. The support from the Scottish Government’s WATES scheme has been very important and by combining the resources and expertise of two major renewable energy companies, we believe this will help to drive the marine renewables industry forward.”
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is continuing to lead the world in the development of wave and tidal energy, with a quarter of Europe's tidal stream and a tenth of its wave energy potential. As the last of our WATES funded projects, this is a significant milestone and is evidence that public funding is helping developers exploit that resource, enabling the marine energy sector to go from strength to strength. This latest development further reinforces the growing momentum in marine renewables across Scotland and the breadth of activity taking place at the world-leading European Marine Energy Centre.”
It is expected that the 300 mile journey to Orkney will take around 2 days, with testing due to begin at the European Marine Energy Centre during November.
ScottishPower Renewables is currently developing a wave energy site at Marwick Head in the Pentland Firth that could host up to sixty-six Pelamis P2 wave power generators. The Pelamis device is widely recognised as a leader in its field, and has been undergoing trials at a number of locations around the world.