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Four Marine Energy Teams Vie For 10m Saltire Prize.

28th August 2012

Photograph of Four Marine Energy Teams Vie For 10m Saltire Prize.

Two tidal energy and two wave power developers have entered into the race for Scotland's 10 million Saltire Prize as the competition's Grand Challenge phase begins.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed senior representatives of the four teams to a Grand Challenge launch event in Orkney, where MeyGen was unveiled as the fourth Saltire Prize competitor, joining Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and ScottishPower Renewables.

Three projects will compete in the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters - MeyGen's tidal energy project in the Inner Sound, Pelamis' wave power device at Farr Point and ScottishPower Renewables at Ness of Duncansby with the HS1000 tidal turbine developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest. Aquamarine's Saltire Prize project will see its Oyster wave energy converter deployed off the Isle of Lewis.

The Deputy First Minister said:"Scotland's clean energy challenge to the world has helped draw international attention to the planet-saving potential of wave and tidal power. With the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney hosting an array of devices, we should not lose sight of how far this vibrant young industry has come in recent years. Lease agreements, including up to 1.6 GW of installed marine energy generating capacity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, are now in place, major power and engineering conglomerates are investing in various wave and tidal energy technologies and no fewer than 11 devices have been deployed or are in the process of deployment at EMEC, with 14 due there by 2014.

"The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors - reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy. The four competitors have stepped up to the challenge, and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world's seas and oceans."

Ms Sturgeon also announced a Saltire Prize-sponsored doctorate to study how marine energy projects can be designed to maximise economic energy production while protecting the environment. And she launched a junior Saltire Prize photography competition - 'The Power of the Sea' - with renowned Scots photographer David Eustace among the judges (See separate news release here.)

The largest renewables innovation award of its kind, the Saltire Prize will be won by the team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters over the minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.

MeyGen CEO Dan Pearson said:"The bar set by the Scottish Government for this prestigious award is a high one. The challenge requires highly efficient devices, and a high level of resource and robust technical capability that is comparable to conventional renewable energy power stations. We relish the challenge that lies ahead and commend the Scottish Government for its foresight and determination to make Marine Energy a part of the UK energy generation mix and a sustainable industry for our and future generations."

Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam commented:"Producing clean energy from our oceans is one of the world's greatest technological challenges - and the 10 million Saltire Prize reflects the scale of that challenge. The Saltire Prize will act as global catalyst, galvanising the interest of innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and philanthropists from around the world - bringing together the best brains and financial muscle to crack one of the great challenges of our age."

Pelamis Wave Power CEO Per Hornung Pedersen said:"Scotland's innovative engineering culture, distinguished marine and offshore heritage and prodigious ocean resources have positioned Scotland at the forefront of the marine energy industry since its inception. The Scottish Government's Saltire Prize competition is putting Scotland's wave and tidal technologies on a global pedestal, and as competitors we will show the world what Scotland's marine power sector can achieve. Pelamis was delighted to be the first official applicant for the Saltire Prize and we're working intensively to deliver the robust commercial technology required to win it, and through that the compelling 'win-win' of renewable energy generation and industrial opportunity that this sector represents for Scotland."

Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables, said:"Scotland is leading the world at the moment in marine energy developments, and the Saltire Prize Challenge is helping to encourage innovation in wave and tidal energy. We believe that power from wave and tidal schemes will be a major contributor to Scotland's electricity needs in the coming years, and the demonstration projects being developed now will be crucial in helping us achieve larger commercial projects. Our tidal partner Andritz Hydro Hammerfest has recently installed a test device at EMEC which is performing well, and our planned tidal power project in Islay will be potentially the first of its kind in the world. These projects are hugely important to help us better understand all of the challenges involved in deploying devices and generating electricity from the sea around Scotland."

Terry Garcia, executive vice-president of National Geographic Society and Saltire Prize Challenge Committee chair, commented:"It's great to see how far marine energy technology has progressed since the Saltire Prize was first announced by the First Minister. The competition has helped promote this emerging industry around the world and I've no doubt that the international interest in wave and tidal energy will only intensify as the Saltire Prize competitors strive to be first to succeed in meeting the Grand Challenge."

Aquamarine Power's Oyster wave power technology captures energy in nearshore waves and converts it into clean sustainable electricity. Essentially, Oyster is a wave-powered pump which pushes high pressure water to drive an onshore hydroelectric turbine. The company is working on wave energy projects on Orkney and Lewis.

The MeyGen project is the largest tidal energy development in Europe to seek "consent to build" from a government. The project is located in the Inner Sound in the Pentland Firth off the northern coast of Caithness, which is home to one of Europe's largest tidal stream resources. MeyGen plans to build the project in two phases. The first phase will ultimately aim to produce 86MW. As part of the first phase it is hoped that MeyGen will start construction of an initial array of approximately six tidal turbines in 2014.

The Pelamis is an offshore wave energy converter that uses the motion of waves to generate electricity. Designed, assembled and operated by Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power, Pelamis wave energy converters are typically installed 2-10 km from the coast, in water depths greater than 50m. These 750 kW machines are currently being demonstrated in at EMEC. Pelamis Wave Power is developing a number of projects in Scottish waters, including the Farr Point wave farm, for which they are an official Saltire Prize Competitor.

ScottishPower Renewables is investigating the potential for a tidal energy project located at the Ness of Duncansby. The site is anticipated to be capable of generating up to 95 megawatts of cleaner, greener power. The device is the HS1000 tidal turbine developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest in partnership with Scottish Power Renewables.

PHOTO
A Meygen Prototype

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