UK govt. asked to reconsider approach to renewable energy subsidies
Orkney Islands Council is calling for the UK Government to reconsider its approach to renewable energy subsidies following publication of “strike prices” which fall short of offering special rates for marine-based power generated on Scotland’s islands.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change consulted earlier this year on strike prices – the minimum prices developers could expect to be paid – for electricity generated from renewable sources.
The consultation included an option for a higher strike price for islands-based renewables projects – an “island uplift” – to reflect the higher costs of transmission from Scotland’s island areas.
While the strike prices announced today retain an island uplift for onshore wind projects, there is no such uplift for energy generated from wave or tidal technologies.
Convener of Orkney Islands Council, Steven Heddle, said: “We’ve invested heavily in wave and tidal infrastructure in Orkney, in anticipation of commercial-scale development.
“The Council, and others with a keen interest in maximising Orkney’s huge potential for generating energy from the seas around us, have pressed DECC on this issue over a considerable period of time. So it is highly disappointing that our calls to level the playing field for these emerging technologies seem to have been ignored.
“This latest announcement is a body blow for the timely commercial development of the wave and tidal sector in the UK, and one which destabilises the case for a vital transmission link to the mainland markets.
”It is nonsensical that one technology – onshore wind – has been granted an islands uplift, while marine-based projects have not, when transmission costs are the same regardless of the source of generation.
”Wave and tidal energy are central to the UK meeting its climate change and clean energy targets – it’s vital that strike prices reflect the added challenges of harnessing marine energy in Scotland’s islands, to ensure developers and investors are not turned back by the higher costs involved, thus losing the UK its hard won lead in this new global industry.
”We would urge the UK Government to give serious consideration to introducing and islands uplift for islands-based marine renewables, and to urgently progress grid underwriting and guarantees for island transmission links, so that the country’s greatest marine energy resources can contribute to meeting avowed national targets.”
The UK Government announcement can be found at:
Ten positions to be filled
The Edinburgh firm, which is currently testing its Oyster 800 full-scale wave machine at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, is seeking eight experienced engineers to join their core engineering, design and project team, together with an operations technician based in Orkney and a research fellow to work at the company’s academic base in Queen’s University Belfast.
“These are exciting times for our company,” says company Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam. “This summer we went through an extensive refit of our Oyster 800 machine which has yielded very positive results and we are now looking to further improve the machine’s reliability and durability, and begin the design of our next-generation Oyster 801.
“To do this we need skilled, experienced engineers to join what is already a tremendously enthusiastic and talented team. We have made no secret of the challenges involved in making machines that can harness the enormous power in ocean waves, and what we need now are technically strong individuals who can bring experience from other fields to help us in our quest.
“Each job offers a genuine opportunity to make a difference and change forever the way our future energy is made,” McAdam concludes.
In addition to their test site at EMEC in Orkney, the Edinburgh firm has gained all consents to develop a 40MW wave farm off the Isles of Lewis, which would require up to 50 Oyster wave energy machines.
All jobs are permanent positions and come with a package of benefits including company pension and healthcare.
Aquamarine Power’s backers include electricity utility SSE and ABB, one of the world’s largest power and automation companies.
For full details of the positions advertised, please visit: http://www.aquamarinepower.com/work-with-us/
About Aquamarine Power
Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave power technology captures energy in near-shore waves and converts it into clean sustainable electricity. In simple terms, Oyster is a wave-powered pump which pushes high pressure water to drive a conventional onshore hydro-electric turbine.
Aquamarine Power’s shareholders include the UK’s leading generator of renewable electricity SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), global power and automation company ABB and Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government’s enterprise agency.
The renewable energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power is deploying the North Sea’s first commercial floating LiDAR wind measurement device to support the proposed 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore windfarm.
Dutch technology provider, FLiDAR will launch its floating LiDAR device at the site 16km off the coast of Fife early in 2014.
The state-of-the-art measuring equipment includes a Leosphere LiDAR adapted to be mounted on a standard marine buoy. It’s powered by its own renewable energy system comprising solar photovoltaic and wind power technology.
David Sweenie, offshore manager Scotland, Mainstream Renewable Power, said: “This announcement underpins our commitment to innovation and to the adoption of the technologies that have the potential to drive down the cost of offshore wind.”
Prior to its launch, the floating LiDAR will also be the first device to be validated at Narec’s newly installed Offshore Anemometry and Research Platform located off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland.
The prototype was validated earlier this year in the Irish Sea as part of the UK’s Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, which served to add to for the commercial market.
Neart Na Gaoithe is seen as a flagship project for offshore renewables in Scotland and is a key project in Mainstream’s global portfolio.
The project received planning consent for the onshore works connected to the windfarm in June 2013 and a decision on the offshore elements is expected by the end of 2013.
FLiDAR is a joint venture between renewable energy consultancy 3E and Offshore & Wind Assistance, a subsidiary of marine contractor Geosea.
River Energy Systems, based in Methil, has developed the device and is hoping to move into production this year, thanks to support from Scottish Enterprise and a contribution of £260,000 under the SMART Research & Development initiative. The support was awarded to help the company undertake development of the device to the point where it can be commercialised.
The river device, named Hydros, is based on a helical screw which rotates with the movement of the water to generate electrical power. It is scaleable to any river size, sits under the water line and is designed to have a minimal impact on the river environment.
The Crown Estate has already granted a lease for a device to be placed in a larger river and market opportunities have been identified in Scotland, UK and overseas. As the product is easily scaleable it offers effective results to a number of different markets from private estates to local authorities.
Paul Trayner, managing director of River Energy Systems, said, “It is exciting that we are now able to demonstrate this device to potential investors and customers. This trial device, which was designed and manufactured in Fife, could, itself, supply a typical house with its energy needs so the opportunity for a much bigger river is significant.”
Ronnie McKechan, Account Manager of Scottish Enterprise said, “This kind of innovation is potentially very important both to the energy market but also to the Fife economy. We are keen to see the working prototype move into production and are very encouraged that River Energy Systems have a number of key customers and markets showing interest in the concept. “
Cllr Tom Adam, chair of Levenmouth Area Committee said, “Fife is fast becoming recognised as a centre of excellence in the renewables industry and the continuing innovation and manufacturing opportunities are great news for jobs and the local economy. The new concept we have seen today is proof indeed that supporting businesses in FRIC and the Energy Park Fife is producing great results. It’s also great to hear that if successful this project will create jobs locally too.”
An international collaboration agreement has been signed between the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based in Orkney, Scotland, and the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N), Singapore, to support further development of the marine renewable energy industry in Southeast Asia.
EMEC – the world’s first and leading facility for wave and tidal energy converters – will advise the University on the setup of scale test facilities in Singapore; offering a different climate and sea conditions to EMEC’s own scale test sites in Orkney.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in Singapore on 1 November 2013 by Stuart Baird, EMEC’s operations director, and Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, Executive Director of ERI@N, after Mr Baird spoke at the Asia Future Energy Forum, part of Singapore International Energy Week.
Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing has commended the agreement: “This is the latest in a number of agreements that have been established by EMEC not just in Southeast Asia but in Oregon, USA; Nova Scotia, Canada; China; South Korea; Japan; and Taiwan.
“With the signing of this memorandum of understanding, we are seeing yet another region opening up for the marine energy market. It is a further example of Scotland’s impressive global reach. We will continue to look beyond our borders to promote Scottish marine energy expertise and know-how, and to develop partnerships with businesses, research institutes and governments around the world.”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, EMEC’s experience in the development and operation of a marine energy test facility is unrivalled, and its expertise is highly sought after across the globe.
Stuart Baird, operations director said: “We’re delighted to be working with Nanyang Technological University, who already have a range of projects to promote and advance the research, development and deployment of sustainable technologies in one of the world’s most experienced maritime areas.
“Being the first facility of its kind in the world, EMEC has racked up some tremendous learning over the last ten years as we’ve developed and expanded our facilities and services to fit the needs of a nascent industry. It’s been a fruitful yet challenging journey, and one which other countries can learn from as they develop their own wave and tidal test centres.”
KOH Eng Kiong, programme director at ERI@N said: “With the cutting-edge EMEC facilities and its achievements, cooperation with EMEC will be very beneficial in boosting the development of international markets and common standards. With NTU’s strong expertise in sustainability research and its strategic location in Singapore which acts as a gateway to Southeast Asia, this collaboration will also bring about the best between East and West.”
This is the fifth partnership EMEC have made in Asia, having signed similar agreements with the Ocean Energy Association of Japan, Ocean University of China, Incheon Metropolitan City in South Korea and National Taiwan Ocean University. EMEC has also formed strategic alliances with The Fundy Ocean Energy Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre in Oregon, USA.
EMEC’s newly appointed commercial director, Oliver Wragg commented: “It’s important that we work with other countries around the world to ensure there is a global market waiting for our clients who are testing devices in Orkney today. With 14 full-scale test berths, and facilities for smaller scale demonstration, we continue to look at ways in which we can provide for our current and future customers both in Orkney and across the globe.”
EMEC - European Marine Energy Centre