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SCOTLAND: Launch of the Palamis offshore wave energy converter

February 23, 2004 12:00 AM

Following six years of detailed design and development, Ocean Power Delivery Ltd has completed the build of the first full-scale Pelamis Wave Energy Converter.

Similar in size and rating to a modern wind turbine the Pelamis is designed to harness the energy contained in ocean waves to produce electricity. The machine is the world?s first commercial-scale floating wave energy converter. The 750kW Pelamis machine measures 120m long by 3.5m wide (about the size of four train carriages) and weighs 750 tonnes fully ballasted. The machine was 100% assembled and fabricated in Scotland with over 90% of the machine?s content being sourced from the UK.

Build of the prototype has been supported by the DTI?s New and Renewable Energy Programme. The machine is a pre-production prototype for subsequent commercial systems - satisfactory demonstration of the machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney (www.emec.org.uk) is expected to lead directly to orders for the first production machines.

Today guests from the renewable energy sector attended a viewing of the machine following its arrival at the Port of Leith, Edinburgh. These included commercial partners from the UK and Portugal with whom OPD are working to develop the first multi-machine commercial projects.

Jim Wallace MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, attended the event to view the machine, and said:

"The inauguration of the Pelamis wave energy device is a significant milestone in marine energy development. I very much look forward to seeing the machine at the marine energy test centre in Orkney where it is soon to be installed.

"Scotland has the full potential to create a marine energy supply chain, utilising existing oil and gas industry expertise. The collaboration of Scottish companies on the Pelamis project is a fine example of this potential.

"In the long term, I believe marine energy devices can make a significant contribution to meeting our renewable energy target of 40% by 2020."

Richard Yemm, Managing Director of Ocean Power Delivery Ltd said:

"Bringing the project to this point has been a tremendous experience, I would like to thank all our suppliers for their commitment to this project over the past year, and all of OPD's staff for their efforts in getting to this important milestone. We look forward to putting the machine through its paces at EMEC, and to securing orders for commercial machines in due course."

Stephen Timms MP, Energy Minister, who was unable to attend, commented:

"The DTI is pleased to be supporting the development of the Pelamis. I visited the Methil fabrication yard during the construction of the machine and am impressed to see what has been delivered."

Notes:

1. It has been estimated that 20-25% of the UK's electricity generating needs could be met by wave power.

2. The global market for wave energy has been estimated by the World Energy Council as being worth in excess of £500bn.

3. Wave energy could play a major part in displacing global emissions of CO2, one of the chief contributors to climate change.

4. Ocean Power Delivery Ltd is a privately owned company, backed by venture capital investors including 3i plc, Norsk Hydro Technology Ventures and Sustainable Asset Management.