SSE Renewables is moving forward with the development of a 200 MW wave energy project off the coast of Orkney, Scotland, after signing a joint venture agreement with Alstom.

The two companies say that they will work together to obtain the necessary permits for the Costa Head site, which they intend to populate with AWS-III wave energy converters.

SSE Renewables was awarded the rights to develop Costa Head by the Crown Estate in 2010. The project is the largest wave energy site being developed in the world today.

John Thouless, Head of Marine Development at SSE Renewables said that the partnership “represents a significant milestone” for Costa Head, and that Alstom is “a very strong partner” to bring on board. Alstom owns 40 per cent of AWS Ocean Energy, which is developing the wave energy converters for the project.

The Costa Head site is located in water depths of 60-75 m approximately 5 km to the north of Orkney mainland. SSE Renewables and Alstom propose to carry out detailed site surveys and an environmental impact assessment (EIA), and develop the site with an initial phase of around 10 MW.

The AWS-III wave energy converter is a floating device with a rated power output of 2.5 MW. A 1:9 scale model of the AWS-III was tested in Loch Ness in 2010, and full scale component testing will commence in 2012 with the support of the Scottish Enterprise-administered WATERS fund (Wave and Tidal Energy: Research, Development and Demonstration Support).

A full-scale prototype of the AWS-III is planned for deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre in 2014.