Orkney base to help spearhead renewables surgeNews // December 1, 2010
A service and supply base for the energy sector is to be developed in Orkney, as the Scottish island group prepares to receive the world’s biggest surge of marine renewables development activity.
International maritime company FenderCare Marine Solutions has confirmed plans for the multi-million Pound base at Lyness, on the island of Hoy, as Orkney gears up for a £1 billion programme of marine energy investment.
In March this year, Orkney and Caithness shot to the global forefront of marine renewable energy development when seabed owners The Crown Estate announced the successful bidders in the world’s first commercial wave and tidal leasing round – the largest planned development of marine energy worldwide.
Environmental and consenting processes are now in train to install hundreds of marine energy devices on eleven sites in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters leasing area.
Their planned capacity by 2020, at 1.6 gigawatts, could supply three-quarters of a million homes.
The service and supply base at the one-time naval base on Hoy in the islands’ sheltered Scapa Flow, will be operational by March next year. It will ensure local support for essential marine energy operations including deployment and mooring of wave and tidal devices, operational through-life support, along with specialist fendering and sub-sea tooling requirements.
FenderCare spokesman Tim Smith said: “We have decided to develop in Lyness to establish a geographically central facility as marine energy accelerates towards major commercial build-out activity with Orkney in the global vanguard. It is a multi million pound investment over the course of the project and means developers and installers of marine devices can easily access expert services and save a good deal of time and money through having specialised stock held locally instead of at Aberdeen or elsewhere.”
The Norfolk-based company, which has 20 years of experience in ship-to-ship transfer and other oil and gas-related activity in Orkney, provides worldwide maritime services and equipment from fendering systems and marine hardware to naval submarine berthing consultancy. This week, Fendercare expects to sign a ground lease for the one-hectare base at Lyness.
Meantime, landowners Orkney Islands Council are progressing a multi-million pound programme to upgrade the former wartime base’s two large quays and provide 4.5 hectares of industrial land, including provision of new power supplies, surfacing and heavy craneage infrastructure.
Councillor Jim Foubister, Chairman of Orkney Marine Services, said: “We are very pleased that Fendercare has chosen to have a presence at Lyness and are looking forward to the catalytic effect their base will bring to the facilities there and to the renewables industry in and about Orkney waters.”
Already, Orkney’s pioneering European Marine Energy Centre has tested or is testing five devices that may feature in the leasing round: Pelamis Wave Power’s Sea Snake; OpenHydro’s tidal turbine, Aquamarine Power’s Oyster, Atlantis Resource Corporation’s AK1000, and TGL’s tidal device.
Longer-term, the waters around Orkney and the Pentland Firth are estimated to provide exploitable energy of up to 10 gigawatts (GW), equivalent to the combined output of several large nuclear power stations.