Orkney council buys wreck of once-pioneering Pelamis wave-power machine for just £1

Orkney Council has paid £1 to take over ownership of the Pelamis-2 wave energy prototype turbine from the European Marine Energy Centre, which is based on the islands.

The council will look at the potential for alternative uses to be found for the machine – the last of the wave energy converters to be built by Pelamis.

It was tested at EMEC’s Billia Croo test site (pictured, above) before the Edinburgh-based developers sank into financial ruin.

Council Leader James Stockan said: “This is a piece of Orkney’s recent maritime history that would otherwise have been towed away and scrapped.

“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 Managing Director, said: “Pelamis were our first clients and started testing their device 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.”

See also

Pelamis sinks with loss of £16m in taxpayer funds


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