Vattenfall plans to open marine renewables services company

Swedish power company Vattenfall has shed light on its plans to open the world’s first marine renewables services company.

Nautimus, the new wave and tidal energy venture founded with British engineering company Babcock and Spanish green technology company Abengoa, is set to carry out much of its initial business in Scotland and is eyeing up the country as a base.

‘Scotland hasn’t been chosen yet,’ Harvey Appelbe, Vattenfall’s ocean energy programme manager for the UK and Ireland, told The Engineer via email. ‘However, the partners cannot ignore that Scotland is leading the development of this new sector. The highest concentration of this type of work is in Scotland at the moment so it is likely to be a good place to build knowledge and capability.’

Much of Nautimus’s business plan and specific services has yet to be decided but the outlined objective is to provide engineering, procurement, integration and construction services. The company has announced that Aegir, the joint venture between Vattenfall and Scottish wave turbine manufacturer Pelamis Wave Power, is to be the first customer in advance of the construction of its first 10MW wave farm off the Shetland Islands from 2016.

‘Nautimus’s goal is to sit between the technology provider, such as Pelamis, and the utility that operates the farm, such as Vattenfall,’ said Appelbe. ‘It will have the capabilities to do the work needed to meet the challenges of constructing these projects.

‘We expect Nautimus to make investment in ocean projects easier, because it is capable of reducing the risk and improving the performance through specialist engineering capabilities.’

Wave and tidal energy has lagged behind other renewable sources and the technology has yet to be widely deployed on a commercial scale. However, utilities such as Vattenfall expect the first small farms to open from 2015. ‘To have adequate knowledge and capability in wave and tidal projects, we need large industrial players such as Abengoa and Babcock to start working on it now,’ said Appelbe.