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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Wave energy contract goes abroad
Ocean Power Delivery's Pelamis system
Ocean Power Delivery's Pelamis system is being tested in Orkney
A company which has won a major contract in Portugal has warned that Scotland is falling behind in the wave energy sector.

Leith-based Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) has signed a £5.5m deal to develop what is said to be the world's first commercial scale wave farm.

But it has been unable to find backing for a large-scale project in Scotland.

A trial of the OPD Pelamis P-750 wave - or "sea snake" - power generator is currently running in Orkney.

The project was made possible by the Portuguese Government paying a premium price for wave electricity.

OPD said a support scheme announced by the UK Government limited incentives to only small-scale projects.

The company claims this is insufficient and Scotland will lose out in the race to develop the technology.

A full-scale prototype of Pelamis is being tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

It is bizarre that Portugal benefits from wave energy developments made in Scotland due to a lack of support from UK government and the Scottish Executive
Richard Lochhead MSP
SNP environment spokesman

The centre was opened last August by Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace, who said it signalled "the dawn of a new era for energy production in Scotland".

He said Scotland would be in "prime position" to capitalise on the "enormous opportunities" provided by this rapidly expanding sector.

It is believed that marine energy could generate as much as 10% of Scotland's electricity by 2020.

Scottish National Party environment spokesman Richard Lochhead said: "Ocean Power Delivery's success proves that Scotland really is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.

More incentives should be given for tidal power
Marine energy could generate as much as 10% of Scotland's electricity by 2020

"It is fantastic news for Scotland that world-beating technology is being developed here.

"However, it is bizarre that Portugal benefits from wave energy developments made in Scotland due to a lack of support from UK Government and the Scottish Executive."

"The Scottish Executive should encourage the use of such wave farms in Scottish waters, helping Scotland to meet renewable energy targets of 40% by 2020 as part of our commitments to addressing climate change."

Green MSP Shiona Baird said: "I am delighted that Ocean Power Delivery has at last got the backing from a government and investors to make this leap into commercialisation.

"Of course it would have been fantastic if Scotland could have led the way as the location for the first scheme, but the fact that a Scottish company is at the forefront worldwide bodes well for the future.

"The Scottish Executive must get its act together to make sure the next commercial development is here in Scotland and that we develop the market here too."

Successful operation

The deputy first minister described OPD's announcement as "excellent" news.

Mr Wallace said: "It is tribute to the leading role Scottish companies are playing in the global development of wave energy."

"We had always hoped that Scottish companies would achieve orders for overseas locations.

"OPD are not relocating to Portugal; they have achieved a significant export order which is to be welcomed."

A "great deal" of the work involved in Portuguese order would take place in Scotland, he said.

The Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland, chaired by Mr Wallace, identified that as many as 7,000 jobs could be created by the industry.

"We are determined to exploit this potential and there can be no question of the executive's commitment to developing marine energy - both wave and tidal," he said.

Successful operation

The initial phase of the Portuguese contract will consist of three Pelamis P-750 machines located 5km off Portugal's northern coast, near Póvoa de Varzim.

The 8 million euro project will have an installed capacity of 2.25MW and is expected to meet the average electricity demand of more than 1,500 Portuguese households.

It is envisaged that successful operation of the first three machines will lead to another 30 being ordered.

The first phase will be largely manufactured in Scotland.

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