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ScottishPower Renewables at EMEC
ScottishPower Renewables at EMEC

Project Overview

Customer: ScottishPower Renewables

Project: Deployment and testing of a P2 Pelamis machine.

Location: EMEC North middle berth, 2km off the west coast of the Orkney mainland, Scotland.

Capacity: 0.75 MW

Status: Under test

ScottishPower Renewables at EMEC

“This project will play an important role in turning Scotland’s marine energy potential into a reality."

Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables

ScottishPower Renewables at EMEC

Continuing the presence of Pelamis technology at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, ScottishPower Renewables is testing a P2 Pelamis machine at the Billia Croo test site.

The project utilises the existing electrical subsea cables, substation and grid connection at EMEC. The Scottish Government has provided funding for the project through the WATES scheme and consent via Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

The order from ScottishPower Renewables is the second commercial order for the second generation P2 Pelamis machine and was installed at EMEC for the first time in May 2012. ScottishPower Renewables and E.ON have put in place a unique joint working agreement to maximise the learning from operating and maintaining the machines as a wave farm.

The experience gained from this project will play a vital role in ScottishPower Renewables' plans to install 66 Pelamis machines in a 50MW project off Marwick Head in Orkney, for which an agreement for lease has been awarded by the Crown Estate.

Two Pelamis machines in Orkney

Project Updates

After completing the assembly and commissioning of the ScottishPower Renewables Pelamis in our manufacturing facilities in Leith, Edinburgh, the machine was towed in a 36 hour tour along the east coast of Scotland to Orkney at the beginning of November 2011. 

Following commissioning at Lyness, on the island of Hoy, and completion of offshore infrastructure over winter, the SPR machine was installed for the first time in May 2012. Since then the ScottishPower Renewables’ Pelamis machine has amassed almost 4000 hours of deployment time and has been generating electricity to the grid in line with expectations. 

SPR have a berth at EMECs Billia Croo test facility until March 2015 and its planned that the machine will continue its testing programme until then, being introduced to progressively more energetic sea states over time in order to test its performance in different conditions. During this testing programme the technology will be proven in order that it can be utilised at SPRs commercial wave development of Marwick Head.  

One Year Anniversary

Earlier this year the SPR machine P2-002 celebrated one year of robust testing since its first installation. During that year the machine has been undergoing a progressive work-up testing programme, being exposed to increasingly large wave conditions for longer deployment periods. An accelerated form of the work-up programme was made possible thanks to the wealth of learning accumulated since the beginning of the P2-001 Pelamis P2 demonstration programme in October 2010, and the resulting confidence of both the customer and Pelamis operation teams in this testing approach.

As a result of this accelerated testing strategy, the SPR owned Pelamis P2 wave energy converter was able to generate twice the amount of electricity in half the elapsed calendar time, during its initial test parameters of small to medium seas. In deployments since then, the SPR Pelamis machine has experienced larger seas with significant wave heights of up to 5mHs, including individual waves of over 9m. Electricity generation has increased as anticipated in these larger, more energetic seas. 

The proven average output capability of the device, over the annual spectrum of wave conditions at the EMEC site, is now close to 100kW. Demonstrations of further improvements are anticipated through control optimisation which could double that number as targeted for the next stage of the project. 

The machines have now experienced around 90% of sea state occurrences for an average year, allowing the Pelamis team to quantify the performance and electricity output of the P2 machines and gain insight into the factors influencing this. The combined P2 test programme has now accumulated 7500 grid connected operating hours, and exported 160MWh of electricity to the national grid.

Pelamis’ patented ‘plug & play’ system for the safe and rapid installation and removal of the machines in water has proved its strength and allowed for the towing and installation to be routinely conducted in wave heights of up to 2.5 metres as well as in darkness. The two Pelamis machines have been deployed in tandem during winter.

We anticipate further significant improvements over the next 12 months, with the remainder of the test plan focused on optimising the power produced in the full range of sea-states in order to progress the technology towards commercially-viable status.

Related links: ScottishPower Renewables page about Wave Energy