Big deal

Scottish marine energy group, Aquamarine Power, has signed an agreement with wind farm specialists, Airtricity, aimed at developing sites capable of hosting 1,000MW of marine energy by 2020.

Work has already begun on the first two sites, with plans to roll out additional development projects over the next three years.

Airtricity’s marine development director, Stephen Wheeler, said: ‘The agreement gives Airtricity a first option on sites Aquamarine develop, using its know-how and technology to identify and develop environmentally sensitive and profitable sites for the future. Aquamarine’s technologies also have similarities with our experience in hydro-electric and off-shore wind development. We see marine energy making an increasingly important contribution to our growing portfolio of renewable energy generation plants.’

Martin McAdam, Aquamarine’s chief executive, said: ‘This contract is the biggest deal in the history of marine energy. Fully consented offshore wind farm sites are selling to owner operators at anywhere between £150,000 and £400,000 per megawatt consented, giving a strong indication of the large potential value of this deal if all 1,000MW of sites receive full consents and grid connection.’

The equal joint venture hopes to deliver suitable sites to house Aquamarine’s current technologies, such as the Oyster Wave Energy Converter and the Neptune Tidal Device. The two companies have said that they will select site location based on local economic impact, environmental compatibility and other sea-users’ needs.

Aquamarine is also pursuing a similar contract for developments in southern Europe. McAdam said: ‘The places where we want to deploy the devices are ultimately those that have the best wave resources. The best wave resources are those coasts in Europe that are facing the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, as well as expanding in Scotland and Ireland, we are also pursuing possibilities in Portugal.’