Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond with members of the Aquamarine Power team

Scotland's First Minister launches Oyster 1

20 Nov 09

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MP, MSP today officially launched our first Oyster wave energy converter at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. Oyster is currently the world's only hydro-electric wave energy device which is producing power.

Scotland's First Minister was on site at EMEC's Billia Croo site near Stromness to switch on Oyster for the first time.

Powering the grid

Oyster is now producing power by pumping high pressure water to its onshore hydro-electric turbine.  This will be fed into the National Grid to power homes in Orkney and beyond.

We will now monitor Oyster's performance and the results from the testing will provide a basis for the design of our next-generation Oyster wave power device.

Speaking at the launch of Oyster, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MP, MSP said:

"I'm delighted to see first-hand the full-scale Oyster now installed and operating offshore.  This is a key milestone for Aquamarine Power and for Scotland's marine renewables sector.

"Scotland's potential renewables capacity is estimated to be around 60GW. Our waters hold around ten per cent of Europe's wave power potential and as much as a quarter of its tidal power potential.  The European Marine Energy Centre provides world-leading test facilities for Aquamarine Power and other companies to develop the technology needed to harness this huge untapped potential.

Further R&D funding

"I am delighted to confirm further R&D funding of almost £1m to Aquamarine Power for the development of Oyster 2, which could be installed within two years.  Through our investments and initiatives such as the Saltire Prize, the Scottish Government is working to ensure we capitalise on our rich natural resources, to meet our ambitious climate change targets, to create more high-skilled green jobs and to make a substantial contribution to one of the most pressing global challenges."

Martin McAdam, our CEO said:

"This is a fantastic day for the wave energy industry and for Aquamarine Power.  We have proved what we always believed - that wave energy can produce sustainable zero-emission electricity to power our homes.  The UK has one of the best wave resources in the world.  Now it also has the best technology.

Attracting inward investment

"The announcement of nearly £1m Scottish Enterprise funding is very welcome and will enable Aquamarine Power to attract further inward investment for the successful development of the next-generation commercial-scale Oyster.  This is exactly the kind of support the industry needs.  With continued support of this nature we can help decarbonise our electricity supply, and build a major, world-beating industry here in the UK."

Neil Kermode, Managing Director of EMEC said:

"EMEC is delighted to see Oyster installed, running and on test. It is a tribute to both the Aquamarine Power team for their work, and also to the vision of the public sector in setting EMEC up in the first place to help developers get into the water as efficiently as possible. I look forward to Oyster being joined by many more machines in the coming years."