New Investment for AWS Ocean Energy

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AWS has secured a £2 million investment from Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish.

Scottish wave energy company, AWS Ocean Energy, has secured a £2 million investment from Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 B.V. (“STVF1”), an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell.

This is the first-ever investment in AWS Ocean Energy made by Scottish Enterprise whilst it is AWS Ocean’s second tranche of investment from the STVF1, which is managed by Kenda Capital B.V..

The new investment enables AWS Ocean to take forward its plans to develop and deploy its wave power technology as well as help the company in its work to design associated technologies, such as mooring systems, for wider use in the wave and tidal energy sectors.

The new investment follows a review of the company’s technology which has resulted in significant improvements to the system now known as the AWS-III. The design builds on extensive research including offshore testing and detailed modelling of the AWS technology. The improved system will have a generating capacity of between 2.4 and 4MW.

Simon Grey, Chief Executive of AWS Ocean Energy said: “We are delighted to announce this investment by STVF1 and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Co-investment Fund as they vindicate our thorough and measured approach to development. STVF1/Kenda are very hands-on and we have benefited enormously from their experience in technology investment on challenging projects. Not only did they challenge our engineering approach but they also required the AWS-III to demonstrate the potential to compete cost-effectively with offshore wind before agreeing to invest further. It is not sufficient to produce a machine that works – we need to produce a machine that can generate electricity at a competitive cost.”

Aruna Subramanian, Investment Principal at Kenda Capital B.V. said: “Drawing on our understanding of offshore engineering and new technology challenges, we are excited by the latest development of AWS Ocean’s wave energy system. We are confident that the team at AWS Ocean, aided by their Technical Advisory Committee, who all have extensive and relevant experience in this sector and in technology development, will successfully address the major challenges faced in harnessing energy from the waves at a commercially viable cost.”

Andrew Sloane, senior investment manager at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This is an exciting investment for Scottish Enterprise, not only because the company is at the vanguard of wave power technology, but also because it marks our first venture with new investment partner Kenda Capital. Going forward, we hope our partnership with Kenda Capital will provide other companies in the already strong Scottish renewables sector with the risk capital required to grow and take advantage of new markets.”

Commenting on the cost of wave power, AWS Ocean’s Simon Grey said: “One of the key drivers behind our review was the cost of energy and the ability to contribute to the Government’s 2020 renewable energy targets. Making sure our customers can make adequate returns from AWS wave power on current tariffs is essential. Also essential is the ability to achieve rapid roll-out and the large scale of AWS-III contributes to both of these.

“Delivering the complete solution will take time. We are already in discussions with partners to ensure that AWS-III is available as a demonstrated commercial product by 2014. Industrial multinationals will be prepared to fund ‘big ticket’ demonstration projects providing that the technology is proven first and so our focus is to do just that: delivering proven technology that actually works.”

AWS Ocean Energy is presently undertaking component and sub-system testing and qualification and is aiming to deploy a full-system prototype AWS-III during 2011. The company is confident that this will lead to deployment of a pre-commercial demonstrator plant during 2013. Throughout this process, the AWS Ocean team will draw on the advice and support of the company’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which was established following STVF1’s first investment in 2008.

Source: AWS Ocean Energy

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