Vattenfall, the European energy company, confirmed its belief today that Europe’s wave energy sector has long term strategic potential despite its current challenges and that it would watch its progress with interest.
Today’s statement of support comes as Vattenfall and Pelamis Wave Power, the shareholders of Aegir Wave Power Ltd (AWP), the company behind the development of a wave power project off the Shetland Islands, prepare to appoint a liquidator to voluntarily close AWP.
Vattenfall has now concluded a six-month review of its ocean energy interest. In January this year, Vattenfall’s new CEO, Magnus Hall, said that Vattenfall would focus its investment in wind energy as it sought to deliver more carbon free electricity as quickly as possible. As a result of Vattenfall’s belief in the long term potential of the wave power sector its research and development team in Stockholm will maintain a watching brief.
The shareholders’ decision to voluntarily liquidate AWP – which has no employees - was confirmed whilst Pelamis Wave Power was being sold by Administrators to Wave Energy Scotland, the new home to PWP’s intellectual assets and hardware.
Bjorn Bolund, who is responsible for ocean energy in Vattenfall’s R&D team, said: “In 2009 when we launched Aegir with PWP we had high hopes for wave power off Shetland. Unfortunately the wave sector has not developed as planned. 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.
Mr Bolund stressed that Vattenfall continued to have an interest in Scotland’s wave energy sector. He said: “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.”
He added: “The voluntary liquidation of Aegir is a logical outcome of our six month review and the recent delays experienced by the sector.”
In 2009, Aegir Wave Power Ltd was launched by Joint Venture partners Vattenfall and Pelamis Wave Power. Aegir was a step-wise project to support the commercialisation of the wave power sector, develop and operate a pre-commercial array off the Shetland Islands with the Pelamis machine the preferred technology and then extend the array to establish a larger commercial wave farm exporting power to the Scottish mainland. In 2009, Aegir had hoped to see first power generated at the pre-commercial array in 2014.