Edinburgh-based wave energy company, Aquamarine Power, took the first step towards installation of its second full-scale Oyster wave energy converter last week with the arrival of the ‘Excalibur’ jack-up barge in Orkney.

The vessel is now stationed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Billia Croo site, where the Oyster will be installed later this summer. The jack-up barge will now begin drilling piles into the seabed to provide the foundation for the second generation device.

The Oyster device is due to arrive in Orkney late July.  The device has been manufactured by Burntisland Fabrications at its Methil and Arnish yards.  The fully-fabricated Oyster will be transported from Methil to EMEC by barge during July.

The next phase of installation will see Oyster being fixed to the seabed piles around 500 metres from shore, closely followed by a commissioning process which will ensure that the device is connected to an onshore hydro-electric generator by means of subsea pipelines.

Work has been ongoing onshore at Billia Croo since October last year, when preparation for the directional drilling of the subsea pipelines began.

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power commented:- “The installation of our second full-scale Oyster will be another major milestone for Aquamarine Power.  Our team will be working very hard over the next few months to complete the project for sea trials to begin in the autumn.

We have been made to feel very welcome in Orkney since we installed our first Oyster at Billia Croo in 2009.  We have worked with more than 30 local firms and spent directly over £2 million in the local economy since we began working in Orkney.

“We believe wave energy offers a very positive future to Orkney and we look forward to continuing to build on those relationships with our second Oyster project.”

Aquamarine Power installed its first grid-connected Oyster wave energy device at EMEC in Orkney in 2009.  The first Oyster operated through two winters and delivered over 6000 offshore operating hours.

In March 2011, Aquamarine Power removed the first Oyster’s buoyant flap and towed it from its berth to a sheltered seabed site at Lyness, around ten miles south-east of Billia Croo.   This operation was successfully completed by Orkney Towage and Leask Marine.