New Oyster ready for EMEC
First Minister Alex Salmond today unveiled the next generation Oyster device - ahead of its deployment in Orkney later this summer.
The wave energy technology, created by Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power, will be installed at EMEC, the European Marine Energy Centre.
Mr Salmond performed the unveiling ceremony at Burntisland Fabrications' (BiFab) yard in Methil, Fife, where the 800 kilowatt (kV) device was built.
The Oyster 800 can generate 250 per cent more power at one third of the cost of the first full-scale 315kW Oyster 1 device.
The prototype was installed and grid-connected at EMEC in late 2009, operated through two winters and delivered over 6,000 operating hours at sea.
The new Oyster 800 will now be transported by sea to EMEC. It will be joined by another two in 2012 and 2013, all linked to an onshore hydro-electric plant in a 2.4 megawatt (MW) array.
Mr Salmond said: "Today is a significant day for Aquamarine Power and for Scotland's wider offshore renewables sector, which continues to develop a wide range of low carbon energy technologies to enable us to fully harness the huge energy resources around our own coast and contribute to global efforts to expand clean, green electricity generation.
"Aquamarine Power has made huge progress in less than two years since its first Oyster device was connected to the grid at EMEC - proving the technology and driving down costs - a testament to the vision, commitment and expertise throughout the company.
"I'm delighted that the Scottish Government and our public sector partners have been able to support the progress of this exciting frontier technology.
"Scotland is in the rapids of a renewables revolution and the delivery of the new, more efficient and powerful Oyster 800 device represents a new surge towards the deployment of commercially competitive wave power arrays."
Martin McAdam, Aquamarine Power's chief executive officer, added: "The Oyster 800 is a significant advance on our first Oyster device.
"Our dedicated engineering and R&D (research and development) teams have designed it to be simpler, more robust and more efficient.
"Our goal is to make future Oysters cost competitive within the next few years. The Oyster 800 will help us gather the data that we need to deliver on that."
The company estimates that a farm of 20 Oyster 800 devices would generate sufficient power for up to 15,000 homes.
The Oyster 800 project has been supported with grant funding from Scottish Enterprise and the Carbon Trust Marine Renewables Proving Fund.
A jack-up barge is currently stationed at EMEC's Billia Croo site, just north of Stromness, and has begun drilling piles into the seabed to provide foundations for Oyster.
The installation process will involve the device being fixed to the seabed around 500 metres from the shore. This will be followed by a commissioning process, which will see it connected to an onshore hydro-electric generator via subsea pipelines.