The Scottish government’s decision to approve the Viking windfarm gives Shetland’s first wave power scheme a significant boost, according to the partners involved in the project.
The 10MW Aegir Wave Power scheme, backed by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall and Edinburgh-based technology company Pelamis Wave Power (PWP), can only go ahead if an interconnector is built between Shetland and the mainland – a necessity for the Viking windfarm.
Harvey Appelbe, Vattenfall program manager for the UK & Ireland, said: “Vattenfall is working with Pelamis Wave Power to develop a pre-commercial wave energy array off the Shetland Islands. It has also reserved a berth at the European Marine Energy Centre to test a single PWP machine.
“Progress on both has been predicated on the expectation of an interconnector cable being laid between the Shetland Islands and the Scottish mainland. The decision by the Scottish government to consent the Viking windfarm significantly increases the likelihood that an interconnector will be installed paving the way for us to start site assessment work and consider investment in developing Shetland’s significant marine renewable resources.”
Aegir project development manager Andrew Scott said: “This is fantastic news for the future development of our 10MW Aegir Wave Farm, and a big step forward to securing grid connection for marine projects in Shetland.
“Shetland and its communities are blessed with a huge marine renewable resource and we are working towards harnessing some of this energy to create a new exciting industry exporting clean power.”
In preparation for work in Shetland, last month Vattenfall said it hoped to order a single Pelamis Wave Power machine to test it at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2014.
Aegir now plans to bring forward environmental and other site assessments, ahead of an expected planning application to Marine Scotland in 2014.
“It is hoped that if testing of the prototype is successful at EMEC; if planning permission has been gained for Aegir; and, if there is a positive investment decision by the project partners, that the machine will be taken to Shetland and be joined over time by nine other machines to form the first wave farm on Shetland. If the first Aegir pilot farm proves successful, Vattenfall hopes to investigate further wave projects off Shetland utilising the interconnector capacity unused by Viking.”
Vattenfall recently signed a partnership with Shetland Islands Council and Shetland Charitable Trust to look at renewables opportunities.