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Shetland wave farm plans go under

Two Pelamis wave machines being tested off Orkney.

SHETLAND’S dream of hosting one of Scotland’s first commercial wave power stations has evaporated for now, with the liquidation of the pilot project planned for the islands’ south west coast.

On Friday Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall announced they had appointed Resolve Group as liquidators for Aegir Wave Power Ltd, which had no employees.

The 10MW project six miles off Bigton was being developed in cooperation with Shetland Islands Council and Shetland Charitable Trust, who had no investment in the business.

The three parties signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 with the hope the wave farm would start producing electricity for export last year using the interconnector proposed for the Viking Energy wind farm.

However a six-month review of its ocean energy interests last year convinced Vattenfall to pull out of any active involvement with the wave power business for the foreseeable future.

The decision to voluntarily liquidate Aegir was taken after its joint shareholder, Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power, was placed in administration last November with the loss of 56 jobs.

The company’s intellectual assets and hardware have been taken over by the Scottish government’s development agency Wave Energy Scotland.

Vattenfall’s ocean energy research director Bjorn Bolund said the company had high hopes for wave power off Shetland back in 2009 when they launched Aegir.

“Unfortunately the wave sector has not developed as planned,” he said.

“Set against Vattenfall’s pressing need to decarbonise our own power supply it has proved difficult to continue investing heavily in wave power in the absence of a commercial technology.

“Vattenfall’s six-month review of our work in the wave power sector concluded that there remains long term potential – not least because of the strong support provided by the Scottish government and the unrivalled resource off the Scottish coast – and so we will watch the sector very carefully in the hope that there will be progress toward securing a commercial technology.”

Vattenfall were hoping to site 10 Pelamis wave machines off Shetland, with a view to further expansion in the future.

The company is now focussing its intense effort to reduce its carbon footprint over the next five years on developing wind farms, with two planned in Scotland along with others elsewhere in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Holland.

Company spokesman Jason Ormiston said: “The science is clear that climate change needs to be tackled quickly and Vattenfall have an important role to play in that.”

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