Scotland’s largest producer of marine energy, SSE Renewables and the French manufacturer Alstom announced Tuesday the creation of a joint venture responsible for developing the project Costa Head, which will aim to reach a production capacity of 200 megawatts ( MW) using wave energy.

This project is located north of Mainland, the main island of Orkney, in the strategic area of ​​Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, part of the Estate of the British Crown (The Crown Estate).

SSE Renewables and Alstom will work together to equip the site of energy converters wave AWS-III, after obtaining the necessary permits. The development of this technology is provided by the Scottish company AWS Ocean Energy, in which Alstom has acquired a 40% stake in June 2011.

Costa Head site is located 5 km north of Mainland, and has a depth of about 60-75m. SSE Renewables and Alstom plan to perform detailed analysis of the site and an environmental impact study. The aim is to develop the site, starting with an initial phase of approximately 10 MW, before moving to full capacity.

Founded in 2004, AWS Ocean Energy is dedicated to the development and delivery of its wave energy generator AWS-III, a floating device with a rated power is 2.5 MW. A prototype of the AWS-III wide 1/9e was tested in Loch Ness in 2010. The large-scale testing of the component will begin in 2012 with the support of WATERS (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support), a fund managed by Scottish Enterprise. The deployment of large-scale prototype is planned for 2014 at the European Marine Energy (EMEC).

Globally, the wave energy is a potential source of electricity estimated at 200-300 gigawatts (GW). It can be used near the populated areas of Europe and North America, making it a new source of renewable energy attractive. AWS-III technology is based on converters composed of interconnected cells flexible membrane, transforming the force of waves of energy pneumatic compression of the air. The turbo-alternators then convert this pneumatic energy into electricity.

A type converter is a set of 12 cells, with a width of about 16 m and a depth of 8 m, arranged around a circular structure with an outer diameter of up to 60 m. This device has a capacity of 2.5 MW, the profiled steel structure weighing less than 1300 tons. The AWS-III system will be anchored at depths of 65-150 m, using extensions of standard docking.

These converters will be grouped together or “hard”, with a total capacity of up to several hundred megawatts. Each AWS-III will be connected to a substation via a central offshore power line. “The choice of the AWS-III for this exciting and innovative project is a major recognition of the quality of our technology and our teams. We strongly believe that the AWS-III will become the choice for power generation on a large scale offshore from the wave energy. We look forward to working in partnership with Alstom and SSE Project Costa Head, “said Simon Grey, Managing Director of AWS Ocean Energy.

SSE Renewables, which specializes in the development of projects of wave and tidal power in Scotland, was given in 2010 by the Crown Estate exclusive rights to develop the site of Costa Head. He is currently developing, with partners, the half of the 1.6 GW of capacity recovery sites of wave and tidal power granted by the Estate of the British Crown as part of a program trade concessions dedicated to marine energy projects.

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