Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) re-accredits scheme for the professional development of engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has given Aquamarine Power’s graduate training scheme the seal of approval – re-accrediting the wave company’s professional development programme which leads towards Chartered Engineers (CEng) or Incorporated Engineers (IEng) registration.
In what is now the fourth year of the scheme, the Institution’s assessors noted that Aquamarine Power’s engineers are being given varied and technically stimulating projects which are “…challenging from start to delivery, and their nature means they gain exposure to other disciplines such as civil, electrical, hydraulics and control and instrumentation in a variety of settings.”
The scheme has been running since 2009, and was first accredited at the end of 2010. The programme is now accredited until 2017.
Commenting on the scheme, Aquamarine Power Chief Engineer Donald Naylor said:
“Our graduates get an incredible range of learning opportunities, from wave tank research, through design and manufacturing, to being on a dive boat in Orkney, supervising work on Oyster 800; and we now have three engineers who have taken part in the programme go on to achieve full chartered status.
“Oyster covers a wide range of technology areas, including geotechnical, structural, mechanical engineering, marine operations, naval architecture, hydraulics systems, control and instrumentation and electrical power systems.
“We aim to have a 1:1 ratio of mentors (who are chartered engineers) to graduate engineers, and put a strong emphasis on training, with up to ten days per year dedicated to professional development.
“We are a small, tight-knit team where we all work hard with the goal of changing the way electricity is made,” Naylor concludes.
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Today (Friday April 18) it has been revealed the CBI has registered with the Electoral Commission as a backer of the NO campaign against Scottish independence.
Responding to the news Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of wave energy company Aquamarine Power (a member of the CBI) said:
“Businesses do not vote, people vote. The CBI has registered with the Electoral Commission as a NO campaign backer without consultation with its members. As a business Aquamarine Power has been firmly neutral on the matter of independence. We have adopted this view after consultation with our Board and Management Team and as a consequence we can no longer remain members of the CBI. Although Aquamarine Power’s staff and Board Members may have personal views on the matter of independence, this has no influence on our agreed company position.”
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Scottish Enterprise has welcomed the official opening of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Glasgow today (Thursday 13th March 2014) which marks a significant step forward on Scotland’s journey towards being a major player in the global renewables sector.
“Offshore wind has huge potential for Scotland, and the new Catapult comes at a critical time in the industry’s development. By bringing together the public and private sector in partnership with academia, its work will help address key issues such as cost reduction, and further develop a globally competitive renewable energy business environment.”
The Catapult is based in Scottish Enterprise’s inovo building, part of the International Renewable Energy Zone in Glasgow.
Seonaid Vass added:
“Inovo, together with the University of Strathclyde’s Technology Innovation Centre will help bridge the gap between industry and academia by offering co-location opportunities and creating the right environment for industry to harness cutting edge research and the industry in the future.
“The building is already home to a number of companies operating in the sector, and Catapult’s decision to be based here will help foster key links across the industry.”
Background on ITREZ
ITREZ, Scotland’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, is an alliance of the public, private and academic sectors that aims to stimulate co-location, innovation, investment and job creation in the offshore renewable energy (offshore wind, wave and tidal) and associated enabling technologies sectors.
Centred in Glasgow ITREZ has at its core the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) together with Scottish Enterprise’s industry engagement building, inovo, acting as a hub location.
Launched in 2011, ITREZ is anticipated to create around 700 new jobs and £100 million of GVA for Scotland’s economy.
Scottish Power Renewables Update on Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm
Following detailed technical and environmental site studies, ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has confirmed that they will not be taking forward their lease option to develop the Argyll Array Offshore Windfarm in the near future. The company has stated that the project may be viable to reconsider as offshore wind technology develops in the longer term, but estimates that will not be within the next decade.
ScottishPower Renewables has been working on the Argyll Array project since 2009, and a variety of detailed technical and environmental studies have been completed as part of their initial development work. These studies have been thoroughly reviewed over the last 12 months in order to evaluate the viability of the project and on the basis of these findings, a decision not to progress the project, has been taken by both ScottishPower Renewables and The Crown Estate.
The main issues affecting the progression of the project are the ground conditions in the site, particularly the presence of hard rock, coupled with challenging wave conditions which could impact construction. Beyond this, there is a significant presence of basking sharks, which environmental groups continue to study to get a greater understanding of their movements in the area.
Jonathan Cole, Head of Offshore Wind at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We believe it is possible to develop the Argyll Array site, it has the some of the best wind conditions of any offshore zone in the UK.
“However, it is our view that the Argyll Array project is not financially viable in the short term. As cost reductions continue to filter through the offshore wind industry, and as construction techniques and turbine technology continues to improve, we believe that the Argyll Array could become a viable project in the long term.
“The rate of progress in development of foundation and installation technology has been slower than anticipated. The current outlook for offshore wind deployment in the UK suggests this will not significantly improve in the short term. This supports the view that it could take 10-15 years for the required technology improvements to be available for this project.
“The Crown Estate agrees with our findings and development work will cease on the project with immediate effect. This will give ScottishPower Renewables the opportunity to fully construct the West of Duddon Sands project with DONG Energy, and continue development work on the East Anglia Zone with Vattenfall.”
The Crown Estate manages the seabed around the UK, including leasing for offshore renewable energy projects. The organisation, which works on a commercial basis with profits paid to the UK Government, does not regulate or give planning consent for projects.
Ronnie Quinn who leads The Crown Estate’s Scottish Energy & Infrastructure team said: “While there is an excellent wind resource at the Argyll Array site, both organisations agree that the project should not proceed at this point in time. Developers have to take a wide range of factors into account when preparing to apply for planning consent – this decision by The Crown Estate and SPR follows a very thorough assessment of all those factors. We look forward to continuing to work with ScottishPower Renewables on other sites and programmes.”
ScottishPower Renewables continues to demonstrate commitment to offshore wind in the UK, with the 389MW West of Duddon Sands project currently under construction in the Irish Sea with DONG Energy. An application for consent was also submitted in 2012 with Vattenfall for the East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm, which could have a capacity of up to 1200MW.
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: