A joint venture has been launched by Alstom and SSE Renewables to create what it says would be the world’s largest wave farm off the coast of Scotland, it was announced today.
The two firms want to develop the Costa Head wave project, a wave energy site of up to 200 megawatts (MW) north of mainland Orkney using devices being designed by Inverness-based firm AWS Ocean Energy.
AWS, in which French power generation and transport firm Alstom took a 40% stake in June last year, is developing its 2.5MW AWS-III wave energy converter.
Full-scale testing is planned to start at the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney in 2014, but components will be tested leading up to then, with the support of a Scottish Enterprise-administered fund.
“The selection of the AWS-III system for this exciting and ground-breaking project is a significant endorsement of our technology and team,” said Simon Grey, chief executive of AWS.
“We firmly believe that the AWS-III will become the established choice for utility scale offshore wave power generation.”
“Costa Head is the largest wave energy site being developed today in the world,” said Jerome Pecresse, president, Alstom Renewable Power, and senior vice president, Alstom Hydro.
“When completed, it will make a valuable contribution to the UK’s renewable energy targets.”
SSE Renewables received exclusive development rights to the Costa Head site from the Crown Estate in 2010
SSE Renewables, a subsidiary of SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), and Alstom say they plan to carry out surveys and an environmental impact assessment before a first phase of development at the site, which would see 10WM of power generation capacity installed before the full 200MW is installed.
AWS, founded in 2004, tested a scale model of the device in Loch Ness in 2010.
AWS-III technology is described as a multi-cell array of flexible membrane absorbers which convert wave power to pneumatic power through compression of air within cells that are inter-connected.
Turbine-generator sets then convert the pneumatic power to electricity.
With other partners, SSE is also developing half of some 1.6 gigawatts of wave and tidal sites leased by the Crown Estate as part of a commercial leasing programme for marine energy projects.