With the ambitious goal of producing all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Scotland is focused on developing clean energy alternatives, including both onshore and offshore wind turbines. While wind power gets quite a bit of buzz, we must not forget that the waves and tides can also be a powerful source of clean energy. Scotland sure hasn’t forgotten it.
With a quarter of Europe’s tidal power in Scottish waters, the government is putting a lot of chips on tidal and wave power—motivating many energy companies to do the same. The Swedish company Vattenfall is among them. With a development effort unfolding off the Shetland Islands—the Aegir Wave Power project—Vattenfall is now taking the final spot at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) off the Orkney Islands to test a Pelamis wave energy converter.
“Vattenfall’s plans to purchase and test a Pelamis system alongside the existing P2 machines at EMEC is a further signal that we are ready to commence the transition to commercialisation,” Richard Yemm, commercial director and founder of Pelamis Wave Power, said in a statement.
While confident that the ocean holds a lot of potential power, the task for developers is to harness the massive energy out in the ocean and connect to the grid. Vattenfall’s vision is to build a wave energy farm off the coast of southwestern Shetland using 11 Pelamis wave energy converters with a total capacity of 10 megawatts. As long as they have good connections to the mainland grid, the installation could generate electricity for around 8,500 households.