ABB-Backed Wave-Power Developer in Talks With Possible Investors

Aquamarine Power Ltd., a developer of wave-energy devices backed by ABB Ltd., is talking with possible new strategic investors to help bring its technology to market.

The company, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, plans to add one or two investors to provide funds and know-how, Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam said by e-mail, declining to elaborate.

ABB, the world’s biggest supplier of power grids, Siemens AG, Alstom SA and DCNS SA have bought stakes in marine-energy businesses such as Aquamarine and Tidal Generation Ltd. This year developers will get projects into the water as the industry moves toward producing pre-commercial wave farms, McAdam said.

“Once these schemes get underway and start delivering electricity in 2014 and 2015, I anticipate we may see consolidation in the tidal sector, and new investment in leading wave energy technologies,” he said.

Aquamarine is testing its device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney and plans to install another machine at the same site next year, McAdam said. The company expects to win full approval from the Scottish government in “coming weeks” for a 40-megawatt facility off the Isle of Lewis, he said.

It plans to deploy the first 3 megawatts of its Isle of Lewis site by early 2015, funding the facility in stages with a combination of private equity, public grants and possibly debt.

While wave and tidal energy has the potential to meet as much as 20 percent of Britain’s current electricity demand, no commercial-scale projects are now operating. Scotland may be able to provide 25 percent of Europe’s tidal power and 10 percent of its wave power, according to the government.

Aquamarine is working with SSE Plc, the second-biggest U.k. energy supplier, on a 200-megawatt farm off Orkney and is also interested in France, Ireland, Chile and the U.S., McAdam said.