Electricity buyer and supplier SmartestEnergy has signed a power purchase deal with the European Marine Energy Centre.
The contract covers all power generated from the wave and tidal devices at the EMEC’s flagship test centre in the Orkney Islands.
The site runs several purpose-built ‘berths’ into which marine and tidal developers can install their machines for full scale, grid-connected testing. When full, these sites have a combined capacity of 11MW for export to SmartestEnergy.
Since its launch in 2003, EMEC has attracted 12 device developers including Pelamis Wave Power, Aquamarine Power, OpenHydro and Tidal Generation.
The power purchase agreement with SmartestEnergy provides a direct line of income from power sales for these energy entrepreneurs.
SmartestEnergy’s business development manager for Scotland, Iain Robertson, said: “SmartestEnergy is proud to be helping support the development of these new, cutting edge technologies which have the potential to play a huge role in the UK’s energy supply mix. We hope this is the first of many marine-based energy projects in our generation portfolio.”
EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: “The Power Purchase Agreement is crucial to show that marine energy is not just a concept or a distant dream, but a fully commercial reality which can play its part in generating industrial levels of power. We look forward to expanding our work and welcoming new technology developers to this world beating facility.”
Meanwhile, SmartestEnergy vice-president of retail Jo Butlin has given a lukewarm welcome the last week’s Spending Review decision to set aside £1bn to set up a Green Investment Bank.
She said the bank needed a kick-start of at least £6bn and branded the £1bn budget “hugely disappointing”.
She added: “There are numerous energy entrepreneurs in the UK with projects stuck in the pipeline as they wait for credit financing. The Green Investment Bank could have been just the mechanism to unlock these projects. It appears the government would rather see them stay where they are.”