The Aegir wave farm planned for Shetland took a step closer to becoming reality this week with the news that the company has secured an agreement to lease from the Crown Estate.
The agreement will allow the company, a joint venture between Swedish utility Vattenfall AB and wave technology developers Pelamis Wave Power Ltd, to continue developing plans for the £60 million wave farm, planned for waters to the south-west of Shetland.
Aegir Wave Farm Ltd can now continue with survey and evaluation work to secure necessary consents and permissions for development from Marine Scotland.
This will include the deployment of wave measurement buoys off the coast in the coming weeks to determine the levels of energy resources in and a broad programme of environmental surveys, which will inform a decision on the benefits and implications of developing the wave farm.
If they get the go ahead, Aegir’s plans will see a 10 megawatt (MW) farm, with up to 26 Pelamis P2 “sea snake” energy converters installed somewhere between Burra and Fitful Head. Work could potentially start in 2013.
Veijo Huusko, the head of ocean energy at Vattenfall and chairman of Aegir, welcomed the agreement. Mr Huusko said: “With a rich natural resource, the Shetland Islands have a great opportunity to harness a substantial new marine industry, when the grid connection is available. So we are very glad to be cleared to do investigation works.”
Councillor Alastair Cooper, chairman of the council’s economy and development committee, said: “We regard our marine renewables resources as a major potential source of energy and prosperity for our community, not least because it is never-ending. We have every intention of encouraging development in this area, in a way that is smart and sustainable with community participation.”
Referring to the planned interconnector to the Scottish mainland, Mr Cooper added: “The Aegir project is a good example of the sort of additional economic activity that is enabled by the grid connection. We look forward to this being the start of a new offshore industry for Shetland’s long term future.”
Pelamis project manager Andrew Scott said Aegir had already invested a significant amount in the project to date, so they were delighted to secure the milestone for the project.
“There remains a lot of work to be completed over the next two years,”, Mr Scott said, “and we look forward to completing this in close communication and collaboration with the local Shetland communities. We realise this has to make sense for them too.”