Wave power developers ready to ‘ramp up’ consultation

The partners looking to build Shetland’s first wave power scheme are set to “ramp up” public consultation and environmental research off the south west mainland.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall and Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power will outline its plans for 2013 at a meeting with the SIC and Shetland Charitable Trust on Tuesday. It is hoped a planning application for the 10 MegaWatt Aegir wave farm will be ready by 2015.

Next year’s programme of work will include increased environmental surveys, navigation risk and fishing impact assessments.

Vattenfall, Pelamis and the SIC will also focus on the likely vessel and maintenance activities that could be performed from Shetland, which will determine the likely quantity of local jobs and economic benefits.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the partners will review progress one year on from the signing of a “groundbreaking” partnership to consider development of ocean energy projects around the islands. Also under discussion will be the lessons learnt from the early stages of planning and investigating the project.
The agreement between the council, trust and Vattenfall is limited to co-operating and sharing information as the Swedish company seeks to establish the wave farm.

But Vattenfall has talked about the possibility of co-investing with the Shetland community on subsequent wave farms if its initial development is a success. Once the 10MW wave farm, using between 10 and 12 Pelamis machines, has been installed, Vattenfall wants to bolster production up to 40MW and then to 100MW or more beyond 2023.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, SIC development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said: “Although it is still at an early stage, we can see that the experience from the first pilot project will inform our strategy in respect of marine renewables, to maximise the economic and social benefits of Shetland’s sizeable ocean energy potential for the whole Shetland Islands community.”

Charitable trust chairman Drew Ratter said he remained keen that Shetland could benefit from the research and development which offshore renewables can bring: “Once we have an interconnector to the national grid, it will be critical that offshore development in Shetland waters is well advanced,” he said.

Vatenfall’s Jörgen Josefsson, also a board member of Aegir, said: “We are very pleased with the progress of investigations into the Aegir project to date, not least by local organisations like NAFC. Now we can look forward to next year’s work, when the planning will broaden out to consider implications for the environment, other sea users and local public opinions.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s acting area manager Rachel Hunter said she hoped there would be a “greater level of dialogue” with islanders and groups in Shetland as the design of the Aegir wave farm becomes more clearly defined.

“During 2013 we expect to help the Aegir team with this consultation, so that we can maximise learning and benefits.”


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Alexander Fraser

    • November 6th, 2012 9:46

    The cost of the Western Isles interconnector cable has risen by 75% to at least £700 million. By implication the Shetland cable and convertor station will now cost well in excess of £1 billion thus making the already un-economic Viking Energy wind-farm even less viable.

    In the wake of this, today’s meeting of the Ageir wave-farm partners with the SIC and Shetland Charitable Trust to “ramp up” their activities is surely a panic move by them. A panic move to get millions in so called ‘investments’ from the soft touch, honey pot of Shetland Charitable Trust before the plug is finally pulled on the Viking Energy wind-farm by the newly re-formed Charitable Trust.

  • James Mackenzie

    • November 6th, 2012 10:31

    SSE have recently announced that the cost of the proposed interconnector from the Isle of Lewis has had to be revised from £400 million to £700 million. Onshore infrastructure is now estimated at £75 million.

    Please see: http://www.rechargenews.com/energy/wind/article326765.ece

    If the cost of the Shetland interconnector was once estimated to be £550 million, would I be correct in assuming that a revised cost might now be in the order of £1 billion?

    Some people meanwhile are calling for a doubling of the capacity of these interconnectors. At what additional cost I shudder to think.

    James Mackenzie

  • ian tinkler

    • November 6th, 2012 11:23

    Never fear, as recently claimed by a Shetland councillor, the overspend and late opening of Mareel are quite normal for large construction projects (On Shetland?). Now just imagine if a similar folly such as Viking Energy follows the same path. My brain hurts too much at the thought to compute just when VE would start generation of power and the eventual cost to the Trust and customers of SSE. Add a billion to VE costs for the interconnector, now consider the cost on your electricity bills as all subsidies for wind power are paid for on our electricity bills, back to peat cutting everyone? (Not good on the carbon footprint, so probably be outlawed by the green Taliban))

  • ian tinkler

    • November 16th, 2012 23:48

    Trust vice chairman Jonathan Wills told fellow trustees that it would be 2020 before the 103 turbine development in central Shetland generated a sizeable income.
    This week Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) told MSPs at Holyrood that they were reviewing the planned interconnector in view of rising costs.
    Just last week SSE subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electric announced a 12 month delay and 75 per cent increase in costs for a proposed cable to Lewis, leading to calls for an inquiry.”
    It is about time this “white elephant was put to sleep” just how much more money will those backing it waste. Wake up Drew and Jonathon and the other trustee backers; you look more stupid by the day. SSE are getting cold feet even before the judicial review. Surely you must now see the writing on the wall or are you so blinkered by easy money you have lost all sense of reason? However greedy you may for easy money, be there is no such thing as a free dinner. Many, many millions now gone and all to see for it is much egg on faces. About time to cut and run like the former “clueless and his clowns”, Shetland cannot afford you?


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