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Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables secure exclusive rights to develop 200MW Brough Head wave farm

A joint venture partnership between Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables has today [Tuesday 16 March] been granted exclusive development rights to an area of the seabed off the coast of Orkney as part of the world’s first commercial leasing programme for wave and tidal energy generation projects.

The partnership has been granted an agreement for a lease which gives them exclusive rights to develop the area for the proposed deployment of the first commercial farm of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster hydro-electric wave power devices in 2013.

The partnership will now work closely with The Crown Estate, Orkney Islands Council and other key stakeholders to obtain necessary consents for the phased deployment of the farm and to ensure the project is developed sensitively and with due consideration to the local environment and community.

The development area has the potential to see Oyster devices deployed in small clusters spaced over a stretch of coastline off mainland Orkney running from Costa Head in the north to Neban Point in the south-west. The proposed wave farm would have an installed capacity of 200MW and could provide enough energy to power around 190,000 homes.

Today’s announcement was made by The Crown Estate as part of its Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters leasing round, which opened in November 2008 and attracted over 40 bids for seabed leases from 20 marine energy developers and utilities.

The partnership between Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables is part of an agreement between the two companies to develop up to 1GW of Oyster wave farm sites in the UK and Ireland by 2020 – the largest commercial agreement in the wave energy sector to date.

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power said:

“The Crown Estate’s leasing round is a significant milestone for the marine energy sector and is a key step towards the industry’s commercialisation, enabling it to meet its full potential to deliver clean sustainable power as well as highly skilled long-term employment.

“Harnessing the power of the sea to produce clean energy will play a crucial role in our future energy security and in meeting the UK’s climate change objectives. Deploying Oyster on a commercial scale has the potential to generate millions of pounds for the Scottish and UK economy and to create hundreds of jobs on a local and national level.

“Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables will continue to work in close consultation with the local community and key stakeholders to ensure the sustainable and responsible development of our proposed Oyster project.”

Stephen Wheeler, Director of SSE Renewables, said:

“As the leading generator of renewable energy in the UK, SSE is committed to building on our existing portfolio to develop viable wave sites using industry-leading marine technologies.

“We believe our partnership with Aquamarine Power will not only deliver a significant contribution to the renewable energy mix but also enhance Scotland and the UK’s position as world leaders in marine energy. We look forward to continuing to work closely with The Crown Estate, statutory bodies and local communities to develop the site.”

Roger Bright CB, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate said:

“I am delighted to announce that Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables have been awarded the Brough Head site to develop 200 MW of wave power in Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, the world’s first commercial wave and tidal leasing round.

“The 1.2GW of installed capacity proposed by the wave and tidal energy developers for 2020 shows the world that marine energy can produce meaningful amounts of electricity and offers a real alternative to conventional power production. The long term prospects for this growing industry are exceptionally bright, with vast amounts of untapped energy in the seas all around the UK. It will create new businesses and jobs as well as attracting inward investment.”