Alstom, SSE Renewables join forces for 200-MW wave farm in Scotland

ORKNEY, Scotland 1/17/12 (PennWell) -- Energy conglomerate Alstom and marine developer SSE Renewables have teamed up to develop a new 200-MW ocean power project off the coast of Orkney, Scotland.

The two will work together to obtain necessary permits and intend to populate the site with AWS-III wave energy converters, a technology currently under development by AWS Ocean Energy Ltd. Alstom acquired a 40% share of AWS in June 2011.

An Alstom release says the companies will carry out detailed site surveys and an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before installing an initial phase of about 10 MW.

To date, only a 1:9 scale model of the AWS-III units has been tested, although Alstom says full-scale tests will begin in 2012 with the support of the Scottish Enterprise WATERS fund (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support). A full-scale prototype is then planned for deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre in 2014.

Typical AWS-III units will each have a capacity of 2.5 MW and be arranged in "farms" of up to several hundred MW of total rating. Each AWS-III will be connected to a central offshore substation via a high-voltage umbilical link.

When completed, Alstom says it will be the world's largest ocean power facility.

The project reflects the Crown Estate's recent emphasis on tidal power expansion. In December 2011, the Crown Estate awarded nine contracts for the development of renewable energy sources, including wave and ocean energy sites.

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