Oysters to power world’s largest wave energy farm

The world’s largest wave energy site is to be built off the Scottish coast after receiving government and regulatory consent.

The 40MW wave farm will be deployed by Aquamarine Power, through its subsidiary Lewis Wave Power, off the north-west coast of Lewis.

The announcement was made by the Scottish government’s minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing at the All Energy conference which is taking place this week in Aberdeen.

Consent from the government and regulator Marine Scotland, along with onshore planning which was granted last September, means the Edinburgh company will be able to install near-shore Oyster wave energy machines at the site in the next few years, following installation of grid infrastructure.

This will lead to the deployment of between 40 and 50 Oyster devices — which capture energy in nearshore waves and allow it to be converted into electricity in an onshore hydroelectric plant — along the coast at Lag na Greine, near to Fivepenny Borve.

Last year the Western Isles Council approved planning for the onshore hydro plant which will be connected to the Oyster wave energy farm.

Aquamarine Power are currently testing their second full scale wave machine, the Oyster 800, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, and are now producing electrical power to the grid.

‘The goal of our industry is to become commercial, and to do this we need two things – reliable technologies and a route to market,’ said Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam in a statement. ‘Our engineers are currently working hard on getting the technology right and we now have a site where we can install our first small farm, with a larger-scale commercial build out in the years ahead.’

In a separate development, the Scottish Government today announced that the Carbon Trust will be running a new dedicated wave programme to help commercialise wave power in Scotland.

Launched in 2012, the £18m Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) will now be used to provide a dedicated support mechanism for the wave sector to enable wave projects get to the first array stage and development.