First Commercial-scale Wave Energy Converter Delivers Power to UK Grid

Each Pelamis machine has a rated power output of 750kW. The machine’s electricity generation is expected to be sufficient to meet the annual electricity needs of over 500 UK households.

Published: 26-Aug-2004

Orkney, Monday, 23rd August 2004 – Ocean Power Delivery’s Pelamis, the world’s first commercial-scale floating Wave Energy Converter (WEC), successfully installed at the newly opened European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney and completed its first week of electricity generation into the UK grid.

Ocean Power Delivery Ltd (OPD), based in Edinburgh, has developed the Pelamis system over the past six years. Building on technology developed for the offshore industry, each Pelamis machine has a rated power output of 750kW. The machine’s electricity generation is expected to be sufficient to meet the annual electricity needs of over 500 UK households.

Since its launch earlier this year the Pelamis has undergone extensive sea-trials to test and commission systems prior to installation at EMEC and connection to the grid.

On the 14th August the Far Scout anchor-handling vessel towed the machine into position where it was connected to its pre-placed moorings. At 3:35am on Sunday 15th August the transformer was energised and at 6:10am control passed to the control room at EMEC in Stromness. The first offshore wave energy was sent to the grid at 9:55pm the same day.

The Pelamis WEC is the first full-scale machine to be installed at the test centre. EMEC will provide the facility for independent verification and testing of full scale, grid connected marine energy machines. Jim Wallace MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, officially opened EMEC on 10th August. The event attracted significant international interest with over 100 visitors from around the world viewing EMEC and the Pelamis WEC prior to installation.

Richard Yemm, Managing Director of OPD said: “Installation of the Pelamis prototype at EMEC went smoothly, and it is tremendously exciting to generate our first power into the grid. We look forward to fully characterising the performance of the machine over the coming months, and to using the results from EMEC to underpin the construction of the first commercial Pelamis wave farms”

“EMEC has provided an ideal testing environment, and we are delighted with the performance of the machine. However, we will be taking no chances and will shortly be recovering the machine to shore, to carry out a full inspection of all systems before redeployment for further testing.”

Andrew Mill, Managing Director of EMEC said: “It was extremely satisfying to witness the closing of the circuit breaker at EMEC connecting Pelamis to the UK grid. The excitement was made all the more tangible by seeing the meters register the first electric power flowing into the UK grid from an offshore wave powered renewable energy device. What was also impressive was the professionalism and apparent ease with which the team carried out this work. EMEC now looks forward to a period of intensive testing of Pelamis“


Ocean Power Delivery ( Max Carcas Tel. +44 (0)131 554 8444

EMEC ( Andrew Mill Tel. +44 (0)1856 852 060


1. The Pelamis machine being tested at EMEC is a pre-production prototype. Satisfactory testing of the system is expected to lead to the first commercial orders being placed for multimachine projects or ‘wave-farms’ consisting of a number of machines interlinked sharing a common sub-sea cable back to shore. As an example a 30MW wave farm would consist of 40 machines occupying approximately one square kilometre, providing sufficient electricity for over 20,000 households.

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