The machine has now been de-ballasted and is clearly visible operating at the company’s site at Billia Croo, part of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.
The Oyster 800 improvement programme involved shutting down the near shore wave energy machine to carry out improvements in five specific areas – with the overall goals of improving performance, reliability and availability of Aquamarine Power’s second full-scale device.
“The product improvement programme has been extremely challenging but has resulted in an even better Oyster 800,” says Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam.
“We have just completed a huge programme of work over the summer period. I think someone referred to the programme as major heart surgery. I think that that is an exaggeration but we swapped out a large number of failed or non-functioning components
“The machine’s survivability is already well proven. It has operated through two winters, enduring massive storms. The downside is that several of the systems and components on Oyster were just not fit for purpose. Our Product Improvement Programme (PIP) allowed us to focus on those areas which were just not up to the job, such as cabling, connectors, accumulators and several of the components of the control and instrumentation system. We also had some failures in the valve and pipework systems.
“We exported our first power since the refit last week and we are now running through phased testing and building up our electricity exports. We can already see a marked improvement in Oyster 800 performance. Of course we have had some additional start-up issues, we would be naïve to assume that all will work perfectly since the PIP.
“The most important part of the Oyster 800 programme has been the learning. Failures can be frustrating but they are not all bad, they are opportunities to learn and we have done a lot of learning
“The team at Aquamarine Power have given the programme an extraordinary level of commitment. I am very proud and grateful to them all. I am also very pleased with the financial support from our key investors ABB, SSE and Scottish Enterprise. The support from many of our key suppliers is also appreciated – especially those in the local community in Orkney including Leask Marine and Hamnavoe Engineering.
“We have not completed anything yet – we have just started. We have a full-scale research platform in Oyster 800 and before we build our next generation machine we need to learn a lot more,” McAdam concludes.
The Edinburgh firm’s 40MW Lewis wave farm – which was fully consented by the Scottish Government earlier this year – could generate between 98 and 200 jobs during construction and inject up to £9 million a year into the Western Isles and wider Highland economy.
The project would involve installing up to 50 of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster near-shore energy machines along the north-west coast of Lewis. The company is currently testing their second full-scale prototype, the Oyster 800, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.
The figures come from an in-depth assessment carried out by Aquamarine Power using a methodology developed by consultants ABP Marine Environmental Research and Risk & Policy Analysts Ltd.
The consultants were commissioned by seabed owner the Crown Estate, using funds from their Pentland Firth and Orkney waters enabling actions programme, to develop an objective technique which project developers could use to identify the economic opportunity presented to the UK by the wave and tidal industry.
Aquamarine Power’s study showed that their 40MW wave energy project in the Western Isles could generate:
98 to 200 jobs in the Outer Hebrides and wider Highlands and Islands during the construction phase, generating an estimated £4.49 million to £9 million gross value added per year;
23 to 37 jobs during the 20 year operations and maintenance phase, generating £1.3 million to £2.1 million per year.
The calculation includes all direct employees and contractors used by Aquamarine Power, indirect jobs such as shops, hotels and local services, and induced jobs created by the increased overall activity in the area.
The first two Oyster devices have been almost entirely British-built, and the study confirms that future machines could be manufactured wholly in the UK, with the potential to source a hundred per cent of the farm’s manufacturing supply chain within Britain.
“The UK is looking for success stories where British businesses can build on British innovation to create economic activity and jobs here in the UK,” says Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam.
“Wave energy has been invented here, is being tested here and has the potential to be a home-grown global economic success. Our study shows there is the potential to secure all of the manufacturing, construction and operations and maintenance supply chain here in Britain.
“The vast majority of the UK’s wave resource lies in remote locations, where economic opportunities are few. Wave energy offers a real opportunity for these communities, even for a relatively small project. With hundreds of megawatts of wave power in Scotland’s islands there is genuine potential for the UK to capture the entire supply chain of this exciting new industrial sector.”
Lindsay Leask, Senior Policy Manager for Offshore Renewables at Scottish Renewables said:”This study shows yet again that wave and tidal energy has the potential to create thousands of jobs across Scotland. Importantly, many of these new, skilled jobs will be in some of our most remote communities.
“However, we must not forget this is exactly the kind of prize that could be lost unless access to the grid is secured and connection charges for Scotland’s island-based marine energy projects are set at a competitive level.”
Councillor Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Local Authority for the Western Isles, said: “The Western Isles are home to one of the best wave energy resources in Europe, if not the world, and our community is determined to maximise the benefits from this resource. At a time when the islands are facing serious structural disadvantages on account of peripherality, transport costs, distance to markets and so on, it is important that the opportunity to develop new industries and to create employment is grasped. We have worked closely with Aquamarine Power as they have developed their world-leading project off the Atlantic seaboard of the Western Isles and have long recognised the potential for local investment and employment through this project. Up to 200 jobs in construction and up to 37 long term jobs in operation and maintenance will make a huge difference in our fragile economy and we will continue to lobby for equitable transmission charges for the islands so that projects like Aquamarine Power’s can reach commerciality and contribute to UK security of energy supply. We must make sure that the UK retains its competitive advantage in this emerging technology which will have global application as it matures and as more maritime nations seek to address climate change issues.”
Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “We have been committed to the development of the marine energy industry in the Highlands and Islands for well over a decade, and there is no doubt that the region is now widely regarded as the global leader.
“Through the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, we have been pleased to enable Aquamarine Power to test and develop its Oyster devices to bring them to the stage when they can be put into commercial use, both in Scotland and around the world. Wave energy is still a relatively young part of the renewables sector, and this assessment underlines its tremendous potential to generate substantial economic benefits in some of our most fragile areas.”
David Krohn, Wave and Tidal Energy Development Manager, Renewable UK, said: “This is a great example of a leading wave energy technology, developed and demonstrated in the UK, having a real positive effect on the British economy. This methodology will enable marine energy projects to highlight the capacity for the industry to deliver real socio-economic benefits to the United Kingdom. We recommend the use of this tool to other developers looking to demonstrate the use of local supply chains.”
ABP Marine Environmental Research and Risk and Policy Analysts developed the methodology to look at all of the socio-economic inputs (both positive and negative) of wave and tidal energy developments in Scotland. It enables developers to gather all of the relevant information related to a project – such as materials and services used – based on standard industry data, and then runs this information through an excel-based spread sheet to deliver a set of objective, standardised outputs.
“The beauty of this methodology,” says Stephen Hull, Technical Director at ABP Marine Environmental Research, “is that it can be picked up and used by other renewable industries such as offshore wind, to demonstrate the positive impact their projects will have on the UK supply chain.
“There is real potential for other businesses in the renewable energy sector to show, in an objective way, the jobs and economic activity their projects will create.”
A draft copy of the methodology can be found HERE
That is the key message from the Global Energy Symposium in Orkney
INCREASED connectivity and collaboration between the world’s wave and tidal power test sites is vital to ensure resources are used strategically and to help boost the development of international markets.
That was the key message from delegates attending a major international marine energy conference held in Orkney last week.
Plans to create an international research forum and global ocean energy network to drive progress in the sector will now be drawn up.
The three-day Global Ocean Energy Symposium – part of a programme of events marking the tenth anniversary of the Orkney based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) – attracted wave and tidal experts from mainland Europe and as far afield as China, North America and Singapore.
Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, said: “The symposium was an enormous success and gave marine energy test centre colleagues from around the world the opportunity to see first hand the pioneering wave and tidal power work taking place here in Orkney.
“It was a privilege, during our tenth anniversary year, to showcase EMEC’s world-leading facilities to our international colleagues,demonstrating to them how marine energy activity is having a positive economic impact in the islands, and indeed Scotland. We think that being able to point to the success of Orkney will help them accelerate their own programmes.Two thirds of the planet is covered in oceans, so harvesting this energy will be a multinational challenge, with Scotland in the thick of it.
“We decided we wanted to build on the considerable momentum gained over the past decade through greater international collaboration and that’s why the symposium made a call for the creation of a formal global research forum for test centres.
“In addition to presenting a united front as the industry moves from its research and development phase towards full-scale commercialisation, this global network will act as a conduit for further peer to peer knowledge sharing and collaboration between marine energy test centres. Only by working together more closely can the industry overcome the challenges it will face over the next ten years and attract the vital private and public sector support and funding it will need to progress. Test facilities will play a central role in this effort, so it makes sense to create a forum that ensures we have an effective voice in the industry.”
Twenty delegates attended last week’s symposium – hosted by EMEC and supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council. Speakers from EMEC were joined by experts from the Scottish Government, Marine Scotland, The Crown Estate, Northern Lighthouse Board and HIE. Topics covered at the event included government policy and support, infrastructure, licensing, standards and safety.
Amongst the international delegates was Dr Belinda Batten, director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre in Oregon, USA.
She said: “It’s been a fantastic event, bringing together such a good cross section of people from around the world. In terms of what I’ll take away from the symposium, one of the biggest things for me has been the lessons learned by EMEC on all different fronts. In Oregon we’ve tested a non-grid connected, half-scale device in the ocean – the grid-connected facility is our future – and so to have a partner in EMEC is really beneficial. I think there’s real value in being able to learn from each other as we’re going through all the stages.”
Koh Eng Kiong, programme director with the Energy Research Institute at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, added: “I’ve found this gathering of all the stakeholders from test centres around the world very useful. It’s given a sense of the issues everyone is facing and reinforced the point that we need a common standard for marine energy testing.”
Fife College offers training for the offshore wind industry
The Scottish Minister for Energy, Tourism and Enterprise, Fergus Ewing MSP, yesterday (8th Oct) officially launched the AREVA Wind sponsored Pre-Apprenticeship programme for wind turbine technician training in partnership with Fife College. This programme is specifically designed to provide the training and skills required for the offshore wind industry and serves as a precursor for further training opportunities to become AREVA Turbine Technicians.
The course includes classroom and workshop education in key technical skills so that students can potentially continue their training at the AREVA manufacturing facility in Bremerhaven, Germany.
As part of the announcement, Minister Ewing met with the 16 students who have been selected to participate in this opening year of the programme.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting continued growth in Scotland’s energy sector and to allowing our young people to benefit from the tremendous opportunities that this sector presents now and in the future.
“AREVA’s engagement in this programme shows their commitment to invest in making young people their business and allowing them the opportunity to fulfil their potential with specifically designed training required to support the UK offshore wind industry.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, which has been working closely with AREVA on its proposed plans to locate its UK turbine manufacturing site in Scotland, added:
“This programme will not only help develop individuals with the right knowledge and skills to work in this exciting industry, but also increase Scotland’s growing reputation on the global stage as a leading location in the development of the offshore wind sector.”
Julian Brown, UK Country Director for AREVA Wind commented, “The AREVA Wind Pre-apprenticeship program reinforces our commitment to Scotland as an industrial base for our activities and will prepare these students for opportunities in the future offshore wind market in the United Kingdom.”
AREVA supplies advanced technology solutions for power generation with less carbon. Its expertise and unwavering insistence on safety, security, transparency and ethics are setting the standard, and its responsible development is anchored in a process of continuous improvement.
Ranked first in the global nuclear power industry, AREVA’s unique integrated offering to utilities covers every stage of the fuel cycle, nuclear reactor design and construction, and operating services. The group is actively developing its activities in renewable energies – wind, bioenergy, solar and energy storage – to become a European leader in this sector.
With these two major offers, AREVA’s 47,000 employees are helping to supply ever safer, cleaner and more economical energy to the greatest number of people.
About Fife College
Situated in the lowlands of Scotland, Fife’s position between the Edinburgh and Tayside regions makes it ideally placed for being a front runner as an enterprising area.
With the Scottish Government making clear its intention to increase sustainable economic growth, future economic success will depend on the ability to develop a culture in Fife that both encourages and values enterprise.
Fife has a lot of opportunities and strengths on which to build including the broad range of initiatives aimed at supporting enterprise across the region. From educational initiatives in schools, colleges and the university, to general business start-up support, key sector networks and infrastructure investments in incubation facilities, enterprise support is spread across a broad range of partners both in the private and public sectors.
Manufacturing and engineering remains a specialist core strength in Fife due to its long experience in the sectors. Technology innovation is driving the pace of change within the industry and Fife is at the heart of it.
The expertise in Fife for manufacturing and engineering is very much a key asset. The uses and end products have changed – but there is still a need for precision engineering and manufacturing knowledge. One such area of advancement is within the area of wind energy with many wind turbines, energy parks and unique specialist qualifications being available and leading the way in this emerging market.
Global Ocean Energy symposium at EMEC
A MAJOR international ocean energy conference is set to take place in Orkney next month, with wave and tidal test experts from around the world travelling to the islands to see first hand the pioneering work carried out by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).
The two-day Global Ocean Energy symposium will also give test facility delegates the opportunity to forge new working relationships, share knowledge and discuss common industry challenges, against the backdrop of Orkney’s unrivalled levels of marine energy activity.
Supported by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Orkney Islands Council, and hosted by EMEC, the symposium is being hailed as the flagship event in a year-long programme of activities celebrating EMEC’s tenth anniversary.
Around 25 delegates – from as far afield as Singapore, the USA and China – are attending the symposium, scheduled to run in Kirkwall between 15 and 17 October.
Neil Kermode, managing director of EMEC, said: “Right from the outset, EMEC has taken a collaborative approach to the development of international standards for wave and tidal energy testing, recognising that this knowledge sharing is vital if the marine energy industry is to reach its full potential. Whilst EMEC remains the only fully operational wave and tidal test facility in the world, a growing number of nations are now well down the path towards creating their own centres, many based on our model and utilising our support and advice.
“It’s in this spirit of continuing cooperation that we host next month’s symposium, in what is our tenth anniversary year, and we look forward to welcoming colleagues from around the world to show them first hand the positive impact marine renewables is having in Orkney.”
Ken Grant, HIE’s area manager for Orkney, said: “EMEC’s knowledge and expertise in the marine energy field continues to be sought around the world, and the global interest in this symposium is further testament to the centre’s leading role in the development of this industry. EMEC has been pivotal to the progress we have seen in the wave and tidal sector over the last decade and we now have an industry supporting around 250 jobs in Orkney and some 500 in Scotland.
“Wave and tidal energy have come a long way since EMEC opened, yet there are many challenges to overcome for the industry to reach commercial deployment. During the next 10 years EMEC will continue to play a vital role in the development of the sector, and will remain critical to Scotland’s world-lead in marine renewables.”
During the event, delegates will have the opportunity to visit EMEC’s wave and tidal test sites at Billia Croo and the Fall of Warness. They’ll also view new harbour facilities at Lyness, Hatston and Stromness, created by Orkney Islands Council as part of its three ports strategy, aimed at supporting the renewables industry.
Orkney Islands Council Convener Steven Heddle said: “I’m proud that the Council was among the Government and public sector organisations that supported the creation of EMEC. Over the past decade, we have continued to provide strong backing for the marine renewable energy sector. Our multi-million pound three ports strategy is all about creating key facilities for the industry at key locations in Orkney.
“The newly extended pier at Hatston recently played host to five tidal energy technologies – more than at any other single site in the world. It’s heartening to see investment rewarded – and the global lead Orkney has taken in the drive to harness energy from the sea.”