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Press release: Council takes ownership of Pelamis device

Pelamis P2-002 testing at EMEC Billia Croo wave test site (Credit: Pelamis)

Pelamis P2-002 testing at EMEC Billia Croo wave test site (Credit: Pelamis)

Orkney Islands Council has taken over ownership of a Pelamis marine energy device for a nominal sum.

The Council has paid £1 for the Pelamis P2 device, which was previously owned by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

The aim is to look at the potential for alternative uses to be found for the machine, which is the last of the wave energy converters to be built by Pelamis and tested at EMEC’s Billia Croo test site.

Council Leader, James Stockan said:

“This is a piece of Orkney’s recent maritime history that would otherwise have been towed away and scrapped.

“By taking over ownership we are putting that on hold for the time being while we explore the possibilities of finding a new use for the device.

“One option we will look at is using it as a temporary breakwater – there are a number of potential locations across the islands where the machine could be used in this way.

“If in the end the best option is to scrap the device, the decommissioning costs would be covered as part of our agreement with EMEC.”

Neil Kermode, EMEC’s Managing Director said:

“Pelamis were EMEC’s first clients and started testing their P1 device in Orkney in 2004. This became the world’s first offshore wave machine to generate electricity into the grid, and led to the development of the P2 devices which began testing in 2010.

“Sadly the company went into administration in 2014, ceasing further development of the Pelamis technology: a stark result of the tough economic climate that this sector faces as it endeavours to innovate pioneering new technologies to harness the power of the waves – a new and sustainable energy resource.

“As a testing centre for pre-commercial technologies, we are going to see some technologies succeed, and some that will not. However, what’s important is that the colossal amount of learning that is gained from real sea testing is shared so that the next generation of wave energy technologies can prosper, and I’m glad to say many of the wave technologies developing today have benefited from Pelamis’ lesson learnt.

“So whilst it is a little bittersweet, I’m delighted that the council are looking to utilise the device for a different means to extend its legacy even further. This is part of our history – part of the wave energy story – so it will be nice to see it preserved to some extent.”

Source: Orkney Islands Council

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