SSE Reviews Marine Projects as Technology Development Stalls

SSE Plc said it’s reviewing how to proceed with its marine-power projects after the Guardian newspaper reported it was scaling back following EON SE and RWE AG’s withdrawals from their own wave ventures.

The utility is studying options, including bringing in other parties, the Perth, Scotland-based company said today in a statement. “We are working on a plan which will maintain interest in SSE’s marine development projects and facilitate additional third-party involvement in the future to help take the projects forward,” it said.

The Guardian reported Sept. 27 that SSE was talking to partners about reducing investment amid a difficult regulatory environment and slow progress on bringing the technology to market. While the government estimates marine power could supply 20 percent of U.K. power demand by 2020, developers have yet to begin operating commercial-scale projects.

EON in July stopped working with Pelamis Wave Power Ltd. on a project in Scotland because of the technology’s slow development. RWE exited the Siadar wave venture in the region in 2011.

SSE has four marine ventures including a wave park it’s developing with Aquamarine Power Ltd. and a tidal venture it’s working on with OpenHydro Group Ltd. in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

“Although there is considerable marine energy technology development to be done over the next few years, SSE continues to believe that marine-based technologies, wave and tidal, have the potential to make an important contribution to the U.K.’s renewable generation capacity in the next decade,” SSE said.

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