Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne today welcomed a £3 million marine renewable energy contract between Edinburgh-based wave energy developer Aquamarine Power and Falmouth-based marine drilling specialists Fugro Seacore (Seacore).
The contract is to install the foundation system for Aquamarine Power's next-generation wave energy device, known as Oyster 2, which will be installed in Orkney this summer.
Mr Huhne welcomed the contract on a visit to the Falmouth firm, where he enjoyed a tour of Seacore's facilities and witnessed Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Martin McAdam and Seacore's Managing Director Bob Jenkins officially sign the deal.
"This is good news for the British marine energy sector - from here in Falmouth to Orkney where the Oyster device will be deployed," Mr Huhne said.
Seacore will commence drilling and installation of steel piles for three Oyster devices this summer at Billia Croo near Stromness in Orkney. The company previously installed the piles for Aquamarine Power's Oyster 1, also at Billia Croo, which was installed in 2009.
Aquamarine Power will install a single Oyster 2 device this summer with a further two devices to be put in place in 2012. Together the three Oyster 2 devices will form a 2.4MW array connected to a single onshore generating plant.
The news follows the announcement in December of £11 million new investment in Aquamarine Power by multi-national power company ABB and other investors.
Commenting on the new contract, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne said: "Our island has a tremendous marine energy resource and we already have a lead in the technology. Now the challenge is to see it deployed commercially. As we face oil prices beyond $100 a barrel and the clearest evidence yet of the physical dangers to the UK of manmade climate change, innovations such as the Oyster are the sure-fire insurance policy with a big economic dividend. Marine energy has the potential to sustain growth, quality employment and skills in the South West and the UK's wider, fast-developing low carbon economy. The Coalition is determined to ensure this potential is realised."
Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power said: "This deal shows that a thriving marine energy sector has the potential to offered skilled jobs and economic opportunity the length of the UK. Fugro Seacore is an international company with the capacity to expand into marine renewables. The goal for the UK is to capitalise on our existing global lead in marine energy and deliver the first commercial arrays within the next five years. This will require support on a number of fronts but offers the promise of a world-leading, export-led green industrial sector."
Bob Jenkins, Managing Director of Fugro Seacore, said: "Seacore worked with Aquamarine Power on the installation of its first Oyster device and we are very much looking forward to being involved in the second Oyster project. Oyster is a very exciting new technology and we are very proud to be involved in the early stages of its development."