Aquamarine Power wins major European Commission award

Aquamarine Power was one of five winners

Wave energy moved centre stage in Europe when wave energy developer Aquamarine Power won a major European Commission environment award yesterday [May 24].

European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, gave the Edinburgh company first prize in the product' category for its innovative Oyster wave energy technology.

The company is currently commissioning its Oyster 800 device at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The company received the prize at a ceremony held at the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels last night. The awards were one of the highlights of Green Week, the European Commission's annual conference on environment policy.

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive Officer of Aquamarine Power, said:

"Marine energy has a massive role to play in helping Europe meets its challenging carbon reduction targets. This award recognises the potential that innovative technologies such as Oyster have, not just in moving to a green energy future, but also in providing new growth areas for European economies and new opportunities for coastal communities reliant on declining natural resources.

"This award is a great honour for Aquamarine Power and we would like to thank the European Commission, the Commissioner for the Environment and the judging panel for this recognition.

"This award is for the brilliant, hard-working and dedicated team at Aquamarine Power and our shareholders, especially ABB, SSE and the Scottish Government, who continue to support the creation of a new marine energy industry."

The European Business Awards for the Environment are granted to companies that successfully combine innovation, competitiveness and outstanding environmental performance. Aquamarine Power was named overall winner in the Product' category, which recognises companies that have developed a new product or related service that makes an outstanding contribution to sustainable development.

Aquamarine Power was one of five winners who also included UK retailer Marks and Spencer. Winners were selected from a record 156 entrants, originating from 24 European Member States and candidate countries. Aquamarine Power was one of 14 finalists who hailed from Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom.

Applicants to the awards scheme first competed at national level before being selected to compete at European level, meaning that companies awarded the European prize are 'the best of the best': the most far-sighted, responsible and innovative across Europe.

Earlier this year, Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power was also named one of UK's best companies to work for in the Sunday Times Best Companies Awards.

On announcing the award, European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik said:

"Resource efficiency is the key to a competitive, sustainable Europe. These companies show that it is not only possible but desirable to combine a healthy bottom line with environmental protection. They are green growth in action and I applaud them."

About Aquamarine Power

Aquamarine Power's Oyster wave power technology captures energy in nearshore waves and converts it into clean sustainable electricity. In simple terms, Oyster is a wave-powered pump which pushes high pressure water to drive a conventional onshore hydro-electric turbine.

The company has a clear route to market for its Oyster device. In 2009, Aquamarine Power signed a development agreement with SSE Renewables to develop up to 1GW of Oyster wave farms. Aquamarine Power has secured three lease options for areas of the seabed off the coast of Orkney and Lewis in Scotland with a combined potential installed capacity of 240MW.

Aquamarine Power's shareholders include the UK's leading generator of renewable electricity SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), global power and automation company ABB and Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government's enterprise agency.

About the European Business Awards for the Environment

The European Business Awards for the Environment were established in 1987 by the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. They are presented every two years with the aim of recognising and rewarding European companies that stimulate economic growth by contributing to innovation and competitiveness, while also protecting the environment.

The scheme consists of five awards, rewarding businesses for management practices, eco-friendly products, sustainable processes, international business cooperation and – most recently – activities which protect biodiversity.

The competition is open to any company, irrespective of size, from an EU Member State or a candidate country. The submission of entries to the European awards competition is managed by national coordinating bodies. Applicants must first enter one of the national award schemes and be chosen to compete at the European level. This ensures that companies awarded the European prize are 'the best of the best': the most far-sighted, responsible and innovative across Europe.

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