Pelamis Wave Power awarded lease option for north coast wave farm in The Crown Estate's Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters leasing round.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd (PWP), the Edinburgh based developers of the Pelamis wave energy converter, have secured a lease agreement with The Crown Estate, as announced by the First Minister today.

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The lease area, which lies a number of kilometres offshore from Bettyhill in Sutherland, was identified by PWP in 2008, when the company secured a grid connection. Today’s announcement will allow the Scottish company to develop and deliver a Pelamis wave farm, with a capacity of up to 50MW, which would be sufficient to meet the electricity needs of some 25,000 homes.

PWP are no strangers to operating in the region having installed the full-scale Pelamis prototype at EMEC in Orkney between 2004 and 2007; which was the world’s first grid connected offshore wave energy converter. Later this year PWP will be returning to EMEC to start demonstration of the first Pelamis P2 machine for utility client E.ON UK.

PWP Project Development Manager Andrew Scott welcomed the outcome of the leasing round saying: “This is terrific news for PWP and Armadale. The agreement with The Crown Estate, along with a grid connection, has significantly de-risked this project opportunity, and we look forward to bringing this project through consents to a position where it can be built and start exporting wave power to the UK grid.”

Roger Bright CB, Chief Executive of The Crown Estate said: “I am delighted to announce that Pelamis Wave Power has been awarded the Armadale site to develop 50MW of wave energy 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.”

PWP have elected to use an SPV, Ocean Power Delivery, to carry out the project development work for the site, which is currently named “Armadale”.

With a mainland grid connection; the Armadale project represents the only proposed wave farm in Scotland that is not dependant on an island transmission upgrade. Neels Kriek PWP Chief Executive said: “Choosing a mainland grid connection gives us the clear route to deliver a utility scale wave farm, potentially up to 50MW, within the shortest timeframe, which presents a considerable opportunity for PWP; not least the potential to win the Saltire Prize.”

Speaking about the area which has been identified and agreed with The Crown Estate, Andrew Scott explained: “At this stage we’ve outlined a much larger area than the wave farm will actually need. Our job over the next year or two will be to engage with the local community, gather site data and work closely with local and national stakeholders to ensure we get the right project to consent in parallel with maximising the local benefits from a project that could represent an investment of £150m – £200m.”

Sandra McCaughey of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) welcomed the news: “We very much look forward to working with Pelamis Wave Power in developing this project. It is particularly welcome to see it happening in such an important area to HIE. It presents a real opportunity for the local supply chain and we will continue to work with local businesses to help them engage with the industry and bring new jobs into the area.”

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