1. Why have Aegir chosen to develop off the southwest of Shetland?
For lots of reasons including:
- The excellent wave energy resource.
- Suitable water depth for a Pelamis deployment.
- Low potential conflict with major shipping activities.
- Proximity to the island’s most developed onshore infrastructure facilities.
- Proximity to suitable cable landing points.
2. Will I be able to see the farm?
Pelamis machines have one of the lowest visual profiles of any renewable technology. They float partially submerged in the water with around 2m of the tubes being visible above the surface and will therefore not interrupt the visual horizon. So whether or not they will be visible from shore off Shetland will be dependent on a number of things such as how high up you are, the weather and how far offshore they are sited.
The photographs in the visual impact section show the Pelamis’s prototype machine at EMEC in Orkney as viewed both from the top of Billia Croo cliffs and from the beach at Black Craig. The machines in Shetland are likely to be further from shore (perhaps more than twice the distance) as those shown but will be a little larger. Although the visual impact of the wave farm is likely to be very small, Aegir will be assessing this in more detail through the EIA process.
At night you might be able to see the two small lights, navigational warning lights on each machine, one at the rear and one at the front of the machine. These will flash on and off in a predefined sequence in keeping with the Maritime and Coastal Agency and Northern Lighthouse Board requirements.
3. Why are the Pelamis machines painted red and yellow – why not paint them a less visible colour like blue or grey?
The colour scheme of the machines is developed in consultation with both the Maritime and Coastal Agency (MCA) and the Northern Lighthouse Board to ensure that the navigational risk associated with the array is minimised as far as possible as navigational safety is of paramount importance.
4. How do you know the machine will survive the storms off Shetland?
In the development of the Pelamis machine PWP use tank tests and numerical models to test the machine design at scale under the same sorts of sea conditions seen during large storms off Shetland. To validate numerical models PWP will record data from P2 machines tested off Orkney in a range of sea conditions and compare the results with those which have been predicted to make sure that there is a close match between the two. Lastly PWP bring in third party engineers to check over the machine designs and calculations and to verify its survivability. Pelamis Wave Power are the only wave power developers to have been awarded independent verification for survivability.
5. How do you stop boats hitting the machines?
The specific markings for the projects will be developed through the Navigational Risk Assessment process and in consultation with key stakeholders such as the MCA and NLB, but it is likely that the outer boundaries of the wave farm will be marked by cardinal marker buoys which are fitted with lights and radar reflectors and the site will also be marked on navigational charts with a notice to be issued to mariners informing them of the farm’s location. Beyond that there are features which are likely to be installed on each Pelamis machine such as navigational lights and radar reflectors suitable for meeting the requirements set out by the Maritime Costal Agency. The machines are also brightly painted in a mixture of red and yellow.
6. How much space will it take up?
A farm of 10 machines will take up around 2km2.
7. How far offshore will the Shetland wave farm be located?
The exact location of the farm won’t be fixed until the geophysical and geotechnical surveys have been carried out. The area we are surveying in is between 2 and 10km offshore with the likely site being between 4 and 10 km from shore
8. Will there be more projects in the future?
We hope so! This first project is seen as an important stepping stone to ‘scaling up’ of the wave power industry.
However, the 10MW Aegir project is a single development in its own right. Any further wave farm proposals in Shetland waters or elsewhere will be judged on their own merits and following their own separate consultations and consenting processes.
9. What’s the expected carbon reduction from the project?
The project could offset in excess of 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from the UK electricity mix whilst meeting the average yearly demand of 13,000 homes.
10. How do you get the power from the farm back to shore?
Each machine has a number of power modules, one at each joint; these generate electricity independently of one another. The electricity is fed along the machine to a transformer located in the nose section, this ‘steps up’ the voltage to minimise transmission losses. The electricity then reaches shore through a subsea cable. Many machines can share a single cable to save on costs.
11. I want to voice my views on this project. How do I do this?
Through the development process Aegir will host consultation events in Shetland to update and inform stakeholders and the local community on progress and give an opportunity to present feedback to the development team. These will be listed on this website and free for you to attend and let us know your thoughts. Alternatively please feel free to send queries or comments to Aegir directly. Contact details are given here.
Don’t forget it’s just as important to voice your support for something as it is to let your worries be heard. All opinions are welcome.
12. I have a question that’s not been answered here – how can I find out the answer?