Renewables firms battle for £10m marine energy award

The Scottish Government's global ocean energy challenge, the Saltire Prize, is underway with four marine energy teams competing for the £10m award.

The latest phase of the competition, where competitors must produce commercial quantities of electricity from the sea, was launched yesterday in Orkney by Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters at a minimum of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period will win the £10m prize.

Ms Sturgeon: “The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors – reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy. The four competitors have stepped up to the challenge, and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world’s seas and oceans.”

She added: “Major power and engineering conglomerates are investing in various wave and tidal energy technologies and no fewer than 11 devices have been deployed or are in the process of deployment at EMEC, with 14 due there by 2014.”

Meygen’s tidal energy project, Pelamis’ wave power device and Scottish Power Renewable’s tidal turbine will be based in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. Aquamarine’s Oyster wave energy converter will be deployed off the Isle of Lewis.

MeyGen was unveiled as the fourth Saltire Prize competitor during the launch at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), joining Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and Scottish Power Renewables.

Mygen chief executive officer Dan Pearson said: “The Saltire Prize will act as a global catalyst, galvanising the interest of innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and philanthropists from around the world – bringing together the best brains and financial muscle to crack one of the great challenges of our age.”

The launch also saw the sponsoring of a doctorate to study how marine energy projects can be designed to maximise economic energy production while protecting the environment.

Conor McGlone

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