- Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) developed and manufactured the world's
first offshore wave power machine to generate electricity into the
- It has been working with the Carbon Trust since 2004 to
optimise its product and boost returns
- PWP has now sold machines to E.ON and Scottish Power and are
working with them on commercial trials at the European Marine
Energy Centre in Orkney.
Pelamis Wave Power (PWP) was responsible for launching the
world's first commercially available machine for generating wave
energy. Two of its machines have been sold to E.ON and Scottish
Power which will undergo trials off the coast of Scotland that it
is anticipated will act as the springboard for larger scale
A key focus for mass deployment is to increase annual energy
yield and to reduce costs. The ability to install and remove
machines quickly and inexpensively for maintenance purposes
minimises 'waiting on weather' and increases accessibility.
PWP is working with the Carbon Trust on innovative ways to
achieve these aims and in doing so is playing a key role in helping
the UK become a world leader in wave energy
The Carbon Trust estimates the UKs wave energy potential at 50
TWh/year, generating annual revenues of £2 billion by 2050 and up
to 16,000 direct jobs. The UK well placed to take advantage of the
emerging market. Not only do the seas that surround us have a high
tidal range and high wave energy, the UK is home to some of the
world's leading marine energy science, engineering and device
To minimise costs and risks to personnel working offshore,
maintenance of wave power machines is best carried out 'off site'
at an onshore maintenance base. If this can be done quickly
and in as wide a range of sea states as possible, 'waiting on
weather' is reduced, improving machine availability, energy yield
and economic return.
Linked to this is the continued drive to simplify installation
and maintenance procedures to enable use of standard vessels and
equipment at much lower cost than other solutions which may require
specialist equipment, divers and manual intervention.
PWP has overcome the challenge by developing a new remotely
operated quick connect/disconnect system for maintenance and
installation with its own electro-hydraulic power pack. This
removes the need for maintenance teams to have an umbilical power
supply from the installation vessel to the connection system.
By implementing this system PWP has demonstrated that the
maintenance costs of a multi-machine wave farm could be reduced by
40% driving a significant increase in returns.
Working with the Carbon Trust
Carbon Trust has been working with PWP for a number of
years. Between 2004-2006, the Carbon Trust, alongside other
venture capital and corporate investors, invested in PWP enabling
it to develop its early designs for a wave energy device into a
Between 2003-2006 PWP was one of a group of front running
developers who worked with CT to establish the economics and
engineering challenges of wave and tidal energy - this study set
the framework for future Carbon Trust innovation programmes. In
2007-8, PWP received support through the Carbon Trust Marine Energy
Accelerator which helped develop technology to reduce maintenance
and installation cost (described above). More recently PWP
was one of six front running technology to receive support from the
Max Carcas, Business Development Director from PWP
"With a new technology, relatively small investments can drive
innovation leading to step changes in the cost of energy delivered,
in a way that is just not possible with more mature forms of
generation. The work we have done with the Carbon Trust has
demonstrated this, and this can be seen in other sectors.
For example the cost of electricity generated from coal in the
twenties cost more than ten times what it does today. In the
wind sector a similar process of innovation and market deployment
has led to generating costs falling by 80% over the past 30
years. Denmark had the foresight to invest early on and is
now reaping the benefits of this by exporting several billion
pounds worth of turbines per year in a market growing at more than
twenty per cent per annum. We have a similar opportunity in
wave energy but only if we as a country prioritise the investment
required to produce this return."
Download Pelamis Wave
Power case study (PDF)