Alstom leaps into the ocean energy market

alstom logoAlstom has taken a 40% equity share in Scottish renewable energy company AWS Ocean Energy, representing Alstom’s entry to the wave energy market. Alstom will be a shareholder alongside Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 and Scottish Investment Bank, who continue their support of AWS.

The move complements the existing activities of Alstom’s Ocean Energy business in Nantes, France, where the company is developing its 1 MW commercial-scale tidal turbine prototype, the Beluga 9

Wave energy, like tidal energy, is CO2-free and has the greatest potential of all existing marine technologies with a worldwide resource estimated between 200 and 300 GW.

Created in 2004, AWS Ocean Energy is currently focusing on the development and delivery of its AWS-III wave energy converter,  a floating device with a rated power output of 2.5MW. Support from the Scottish Enterprise-administered WATERS fund (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support) enabled a 1:9 scale model of the AWS-III to be tested in Loch Ness in 2010.

alstom ocean beluga 9

Philippe Cochet, Senior Vice President Hydro & Wind, Alstom, said “We are extremely excited about entering the wave energy market at this pivotal time. Our engagement with AWS today forms an important part of the strategic development of our recently created business activity, Alstom Ocean. Having reviewed many different technologies, and undertaken further detailed analysis with the most promising, we are absolutely confident that AWS-III is a technology that perfectly complements our existing ocean activities: tidal energy and offshore wind, while further reinforcing Alstom’s position as a leading supplier of clean energy solutions.”

Welcoming this investment, Simon Grey, CEO AWS Ocean Energy, said “We are very pleased to work with Alstom to further develop the AWS-III technology: the investment is a significant step forward for AWS and for the wave energy sector as a whole. Their support, and that of the Scottish Government, is both an endorsement of what we have achieved so far and a major source of motivation to continue developing this technology.”

The UK Government has the ambition to raise the share of electricity generated from renewables from 6.7% today to around 30% by 2020. Wave and tidal energy together has the potential to meet up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand, representing 30-50 GW installed capacity, with the UK enjoying around 50% of Europe’s total tidal energy resource. Alstom has a strong commercial footprint in the UK and is committed to the region’s fast-growing renewables industry, notably through the development of a 6 MW offshore wind turbine and delivery of three onshore wind farms.

Scotland is at the forefront of marine energy development, creating the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney in 2003, and with over 1.6 GW of lease already awarded for tidal and wave projects in Scottish waters. The Scottish First Minister has recently announced the target to produce the equivalent of at least 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020.

Portugal, Spain and France are also showing a strong interest in marine energy and wave energy in particular.

About AWS Ocean Energy

AWS Ocean Energy Ltd is a wave energy technology development company based in Inverness. Its business is marine energy technology: creating, commercialising and delivering enabling technologies and related services to the emerging marine energy sector through R & D, engineering and commercial expertise. AWS’s lead product is a multi-MW offshore wave energy generator evolved from the award-winning Archimedes Waveswing ™ technology. AWS is progressing a rigorous Technology Qualification programme to deliver reliable, affordable and operable wave power stations.

Backed by Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 and other blue-chip investors, AWS has an experienced team of engineers and researchers who seek a collaborative approach to development where innovation and value are enhanced through shared experience and communication. AWS is the first wave energy technology company actively to promote the oil & gas sector approach of Joint Industry Projects.

About Scottish Investment Bank

The Scottish Investment Bank is a division of Scottish Enterprise which operates Scotland-wide, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It operates a suite of funds including; The Scottish Seed, the Scottish Co-investment, the Scottish Venture and the Scottish Loan Fund to support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure that businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital, see www.scottish-enterprise.com/sib.

About Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1

Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 B.V. (the “Fund”), managed by Kenda Capital B.V. (“Kenda”), is a unique large scale investment fund focused on reducing the cost of energy by accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies.  Kenda and the Fund have solid energy sector expertise, fostered through a unique technology relationship with the Shell Group. Major investors in the Fund are the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Coller Capital and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.