The type of wave turbine which Vattenfall intends installing off Shetland in 2014 has produced electricity for the first time.
The 750 kiloWatt Pelamis P2 machine, named Vagr Atferd, is the first of its type tested anywhere in the world and began generating power on Tuesday last week in Orkney for power company E.ON. It arrived at Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in May.
In Shetland, Vattenfall envisages siting up to 26 of the same kind of machine offshore between Burra and Spiggie to generate up to 20 MegaWatts of power. Councillors on the planning board are expected to consider this so-called Aegir wave farm bid early next year.
Measuring 180 metres long, the P2 machines are 50 metres longer than the original Pelamis wave-power generator and are expected to be considerably more efficient at producing power.
E.ON’s marine development manager Amaan Lafayette said first power from one of the machines was a really important step for E.ON and the marine power industry as a whole. The P2 testing programme is scheduled to last around three years.
He said: “This is a crucial time for us and will help to determine what we need to do to ensure that marine energy makes the transition from a potential player in the renewables market to commercial deployment, not just in the UK but around the world.”
E.ON has just joined forces with ScottishPower Renewables, which is having its own P2 machine built next year. The two companies intend trialing the machines together, sharing information about how best to use them with a view to developing larger commercial schemes, such as ScottishPower’s 66-machine 50MW wave farm off Marwick Head in Orkney.
E.ON also plans a 50MW wave farm off Orkney and a third one of the same size is planned by Pelamis itself for a site off Armadale in Sutherland. All three big wave farms have already received development licences from the Crown Estate.