A new wave power plant will be built in the United Kingdom

Under the first project a 20 MW plant will be built by 2014 off the Shetland Islands. Swedish-based Vattenfall and Scottish-based Pelamis Wave Power announced that they have created a joint-venture (named Aegir) for the construction of wave energy plants. The first project is expected to start operations in 2014 in the eastern Atlantic, off the coast of the Shetlands, with a 20 MW capacity.

The launch of the joint-venture, called Aegir, was announced the same day that Vattenfall’s new office in Edinburgh, and the first in Scotland, was officially opened by the First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MP, MSP.

Aegir has been set up to explore wave power development opportunities in Scottish waters and plans to deploy Pelamis Wave Power’s second generation ‘P-2’ wave energy convertor on the developed site.

Aegir is keen to identify and confirm a potential site off the Shetland Islands’ west coast and make progress towards installing a project up to 20 megawatts in scale. This would make the project a potential candidate for the Saltire Prize, the Scottish Government’s
marine power innovation award.

Dr Helmar Rendez, the Head of Group Function Strategies at Vattenfall, which incorporates the research and development arm of the European energy company, said: “Vattenfall intends to make electricity clean by 2050 and halve its carbon emissions by 2030; this means we must invest in the green energy technologies of today and tomorrow.

“The partnership with Pelamis allows us to work on developing a site that will prove very productive when we make wave power a commercial reality. We are pleased to tie-up with Pelamis and take this project forward as we have big hopes for the future of wave power and see Scotland as a good place to do this.”

Neels Kriek, the new Pelamis Wave Power Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be working with Vattenfall on this ground breaking project which we hope will be one of many for our Scottish built P-2 Pelamis machine. We also anticipate this project being a
leading candidate for the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize for commercially proven wave power technology.”

Aegir is working towards installing a first phase, multi-machine array, with an installed capacity of up to 20 megawatts (MW). Vattenfall’s ambition is for wave power projects to grow to the scale of offshore wind projects and the Aegir project is seen as a key stepping stone to that ambition and the opportunity that exists in the Shetland Isles.

The plant will use "Pelamis P2" buoys, consisting of semi-submerged cylinders connected by hydraulic rams which generate power when resisting the wave action.

Each machine consists of several sections, has a 4-metre diameter and is 150-180 metres long, with a capacity of 750 kW.

Ulf Tisell, manager of Vattenfall’s Ocean Energy Program, said that «the ocean west of Shetland has very close to ideal conditions that will enable us to extract energy from the waves effectively». Also, following the construction of this first plant using the Pelamis technology, other technologies will be considered for further projects «to be developed after 2014 for large-scale capacity».

Pelamis Wave Power is headquartered in Leith, Edinburgh. Established in 1998, the company employs ~70 staff and is one of the UK’s largest renewable energy technology manufacturing companies.

The company was the first to generate electricity into the UK grid from offshore wave energy in 2004, the first to secure an order for a multiple machine project and the first to operate a wave farm anywhere in the world, in 2008. It is currently building its next generation machine, the P-2, which will be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre in 2010.

Deployed as multiple units in ‘wave farms’, each Pelamis machine can produce sufficient electricity each year to meet the equivalent annual average electricity demand of ~500 UK households.