Saltire prize contenders announced by Scottish Government

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By Martin Kelly
 
Four firms in the hunt for a £10 million renewable energy bounty have been named by the Scottish government.
 
The Saltire Prize, a competition aimed at encouraging research and development in an effort at unlocking Scotland’s wave and tidal energy potential, has resulted in four firms being in contention for the award.

By Martin Kelly
 
Four firms in the hunt for a £10 million renewable energy bounty have been named by the Scottish government.
 
The Saltire Prize, a competition aimed at encouraging research and development in an effort at unlocking Scotland’s wave and tidal energy potential, has resulted in four firms being in contention for the award.

Two tidal energy and two wave power developers have entered into the race for Scotland’s £10 million Saltire Prize as the competition’s Grand Challenge phase begins.

ScottishPower Renewables, Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and MeyGen are each vying to produce the most electricity over a two-year period, using only the power of the sea.

Three projects will compete in the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters – MeyGen’s tidal energy project in the Inner Sound, Pelamis’ wave power device at Farr Point and ScottishPower Renewables at Ness of Duncansby with the HS1000 tidal turbine developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest.

Aquamarine’s Saltire Prize project will see its Oyster wave energy converter deployed off the Isle of Lewis.

Announcing the contenders today in Orkney, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s clean energy challenge to the world has helped draw international attention to the planet-saving potential of wave and tidal power.

“With the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney hosting an array of devices, we should not lose sight of how far this vibrant young industry has come in recent years.”

The Deputy FM revealed that major companies and engineering conglomerates are now investing in a variety of wave and tidal energy technologies with no fewer than 11 devices already deployed or are in the process of deployment at Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), with 14 due there by 2014.

The largest renewables innovation award of its kind, the Saltire Prize will be won by the team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters over the minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.

MeyGen CEO Dan Pearson said: “The bar set by the Scottish Government for this prestigious award is a high one.  The challenge requires highly efficient devices, and a high level of resource and robust technical capability that is comparable to conventional renewable energy power stations. 

“We relish the challenge that lies ahead and commend the Scottish Government for its foresight and determination to make Marine Energy a part of the UK energy generation mix and a sustainable industry for ours and future generations.”

Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam commented: “Producing clean energy from our oceans is one of the world’s greatest technological challenges – and the £10 million Saltire Prize reflects the scale of that challenge.

“The Saltire Prize will act as global catalyst, galvanising the interest of innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and philanthropists from around the world – bringing together the best brains and financial muscle to crack one of the great challenges or our age.”

Pelamis Wave Power CEO Per Hornung Pedersen commended “Scotland’s innovative engineering culture” and described the country as being at the forefront of the marine energy industry.

Mr Pedersen added: “The Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize competition is putting Scotland’s wave and tidal technologies on a global pedestal, and as competitors we will show the world what Scotland’s marine power sector can achieve.

“Pelamis was delighted to be the first official applicant for the Saltire Prize and we’re working intensively to deliver the robust commercial technology required to win it, and through that the compelling ‘win-win’ of renewable energy generation and industrial opportunity that this sector represents for Scotland.”

Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables said: “Scotland is leading the world at the moment in marine energy developments, and the Saltire Prize Challenge is helping to encourage innovation in wave and tidal energy. 

“We believe that power from wave and tidal schemes will be a major contributor to Scotland’s electricity needs in the coming years, and the demonstration projects being developed now will be crucial in helping us achieve larger commercial projects.  Our tidal partner Andritz Hydro Hammerfest has recently installed a test device at EMEC which is performing well, and our planned tidal power project in Islay will be potentially the first of its kind in the world.

“These projects are hugely important to help us better understand all of the challenges involved in deploying devices and generating electricity from the sea around Scotland.”

Terry Garcia, executive vice-president of National Geographic Society and Saltire Prize Challenge Committee chair commented: “It’s great to see how far marine energy technology has progressed since the Saltire Prize was first announced by the First Minister.

“The competition has helped promote this emerging industry around the world and I’ve no doubt that the international interest in wave and tidal energy will only intensify as the Saltire Prize competitors strive to be first to succeed in meeting the Grand Challenge.”

As well as announcing the doctorate and the companies vying for the Saltire Prize, Ms Sturgeon also launched a junior Saltire Prize photography competition called The Power of the Sea, with renowned Scots photographer David Eustace among the judges.