Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Gibson welcomes Pelamis Announcement

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP welcomed the announcement that Edinburgh based developers of the Pelamis wave energy converter has secured a lease agreement for waters off the North Sutherland coast which he said will have many benefits for the local community.

The lease which was announced by the First Minister this week along with the Crown Estate Commission allows the company to develop a wave farm in the waters some kilometres out from Bettyhill.

The company has also said that it will be negotiating with the local community and stake holders.

The announcement will allow for the production of up to 50 MW which is enough to power 25,000 homes.

Mr Gibson said it was a great boon for the local economy as the company has stated that it will .

"This development has been estimated at being between £150 and £200 million. Pelamis Wave Energy had indicated that they are looking to work closely with key stake holders in the local community to maximise the benefits that a wave farm can bring. This must materialise so that communities will derive real benefits form the energy on their doorsteps much as the Shetlanders did from oil in the 1970s."

"It is exciting times for the area and the wider region. This week is a momentous as it signals the start of the transformation of the Far North's economy. There is great potential for jobs and real investment to the area."

"There is a pool of engineering talent which exists along the north coast because of the nuclear industry. As these sectors decline then there is a real opportunity that this pool will have the chance to take up new posts in the burgeoning renewables industry which will allow them to practice their expertise close to home. Indeed those oil workers forced to seek employment abroad can now make the year of Scottish Homecoming in 2009 something more permanent."

"It is almost as if energy is coming home."

"It is imperative therefore that the development of Scrabster harbour is accelerated as it will be the closest port that can service the devices which will lie off Bettyhill. HIE must give the Scrabster its full and urgent backing so that the future potential of the waters off Sutherland and the rest of the North Coast can be realised."


Note to editor

1. Pelamis Wave Power Ltd (formerly Ocean Power Delivery) has been developing the Pelamis wave energy converter since 1998. PWP have delivered a number of key milestones for the emerging wave and tidal sector including: the first export of power from an offshore wave energy converter when the full-scale prototype Pelamis was tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) off Orkney in 2004, and securing the first commercial supply contract for wave generators which were successfully commissioned in the world's first wave farm in Portugal in 2008. PWP are currently manufacturing the first Pelamis P2 machine for utility client E.ON for deployment at EMEC in 2010 as part of the UK's first commercial contract for the marine sector.

2. In February 2010 PWP and project partners E.ON we awarded £4.8m for the current P2 project by the Carbon Trust under the Marine Renewable Proving Fund, a new funding scheme from DECC.

3. The Saltire Prize is a £10 million prize challenge, launched by the Scottish Government in December 2008, for advances in wave and tidal energy and is one of the biggest international innovation prizes in history.

4. In their 2009 report "Marine Energy Road Map"; The Scottish Government/marine industry group (Marine Energy Group) estimated that as many as 5,300 jobs could be generated by the marine sector in Scotland by 2020.

5. In April 2009 the Scottish Government introduced a 5 ROC (Renewable Obligation Certificate) banding for wave energy generation to help encourage private investment into wave energy technologies and projects within Scottish waters.

6. Wave energy (captured from wind driven ocean waves) should not be confused with tidal energy (captured from tidal streams or lagoons).

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