Projects:  Oyster 1, Orkney

Oyster wave energy converter in operation at Orkney

We installed our first full-scale 315kW Oyster wave energy device at the European Marine Energy Centre's test site at Billia Croo, near Stromness in Orkney in the summer of 2009.  Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MSP officially switched on Oyster 1 on 20 November 2009.

Successful operation

Oyster 1 successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using wave energy to pump high pressure water to an onshore hydro-electric turbine to create electricity.

Oyster 1 delivered over 6000 offshore operating hours, survived two winters at sea and performed in line with predictions made from our design model.  Oyster 1 also achieved continuous 24 hour generation - a major achievement for a first full-scale prototype.

Development of Oyster 1

We conceived, engineered and installed our first Oyster wave energy project over the period from 2005 to 2009.  Aquamarine Power completed the Oyster 1 project in-house with support from a number of engineering, fabrication and construction contractors.

Two year design life

The Oyster 1 device was built with a two year design life.  In spring 2011, we took advantage of calm weather conditions to remove Oyster 1's buoyant flap and tow it from its berth to a sheltered seabed site at Lyness, around ten miles south-east of Billia Croo.

Oyster 1 learnings

Oyster 1 generated significant operational experience, learning and data for use in Aquamarine Power's future Oyster projects.  We are currently inspecting the Oyster 1 flap to find out how the device's tubes, bearings, seals and other components have fared after two winters at sea. We will feed learnings from these inspections and from performance data gathered from Oyster 1 into the development and construction of subsequent Oyster design iterations.


  • Seabed berthSecured seabed berth from EMEC, 2008
  • Environmental monitoringMonitoring of wildlife began April 2010; ongoing
  • Environmental assessmentCarried out by local consultancy Xodus Environment, 2008
  • Fabrication of Oyster 1Carried out by Scottish manufacturer Isleburn, 2008
  • Planning permission/offshore consentsFull consents received, 2009
  • Onshore construction worksCarried out by local company Heddle Construction, 2009
  • Offshore installationCarried out by marine drilling & civil engineering contractor Fugro Seacore, 2009
  • Grid-connectionOyster 1 began powering grid, Nov 2009
  • Flap removalFlap removed by Orkney Towage & Leask Marine, March 2011
Stephen Hagan, Convener
Orkney Islands Council was delighted to see the successful installation of the first Oyster wave energy device in 2009. The Council fully supports the work Aquamarine Power is doing to optimise growth of the wave energy industry in Orkney.
Stephen Hagan, Convener
Orkney Islands Council, Kirkwall, Orkney
Leask Marine was contracted to provide commercial diving services on Aquamarine Power’s Oyster 1 project. It has been great to be involved in such an important project from the beginning and we are pleased to see Aquamarine Power choosing to work with local contractors such as ourselves.
Douglas Leask, Managing Director
Leask Marine, Kirkwall, Orkney