Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre has leased out its last available test berth after Swedish utility Vattenfall signed up to test a wave energy device.
The group is to test one of Edinburgh-based wave energy developer Pelamis Wave Power’s devices off the coast close to Stromness.
The lease now means all of EMEC’s six wave and eight tidal berths are now leased to firms ranging from utilities to small developers and global firms including Rolls Royce and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Vattenfall said today it hopes to start testing the device, which it is due to buy off Pelamis later this year, in 2014.
The utility is working on an ocean energy development proposal, known as Aegir, off Shetland, a project dependent on an electricity cable being laid between the islands and the mainland of Scotland and the Pelamis device standing up to safety and reliability tests.
Veijo Huusko, Vattenfall’s head of low emitting energy research and development, said: “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.
“That is why we plan to purchase Pelamis Wave Power’s latest, second-generation machine and test it at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
“However, the final decision on purchasing a machine for testing will, in part, be based on our expectation of there being an interconnector cable being laid between the Shetland Islands and the Scottish mainland.”
The Aegir project, a joint venture between Vattenfall and Pelamis, could see a wave power array of up to 10 megawatt off Shetland.
Environmental and resource assessments are being carried out and it is expected a planning application would be submitted to Marine Scotland in 2014.
Vattenfall said SSE, the transmission operator in the north of Scotland, has said that it would progress a connection between Shetland and the mainland using a high voltage direct current cable once there was sufficient generation capacity to justify the investment.