Following installation of the prototype Pelamis machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, the first electricity from offshore waves was generated to the UK grid at 9.55pm on Sunday 15th August 2004. This was a major achievement for Pelamis and the whole wave energy sector and demonstrated the feasibility and potential of harnessing the power of our ocean waves.
In the ten years that have followed that milestone, Pelamis has continued to lead the sector, notched up a string of further world firsts and set new records in electricity generation and operational capability.
The design of the Pelamis machine has also progressed from the first prototype to the second generation Pelamis P2 machines currently being tested at the EMEC site, delivering a mountain of operational data and experience to steer ongoing research and development of the Pelamis into a fully commercial machine.
The P2 machines on test at EMEC have now generated almost 250MWh of electricity, converting wave by wave bursts of absorbed power in excess of 2MW to smooth, steady 30 minute average electrical output of over 280kW. They have experienced over 90% of sea state occurrences for an average year, including significant wave heights of 5mHs and individual waves of almost 10m.
Richard Yemm, Pelamis Chief Executive, said: “The progress we have made in the last ten years has been exceptional, with the decade of development experience including the design, build and operation of six full scale machines, 15,000 hours at sea and with a clear route to market through our own project sites and those of our utility customers. Our two machines at EMEC have already produced almost 250MWh of energy so far during testing.
“The team is now focused on optimising the technology, reducing the cost of energy and delivering the first stage of a commercial scale wave array over the next few years. Successful delivery of this will pave the way for large deployments in the future.
“Developing any new technology is challenging, in the marine environment even more so, but having established this leading position and with so many of the key milestones behind us, we can now look forward with confidence to delivering a commercial wave energy sector over the coming years.”