Scotland vows support for wave power

Wave energy in Scotland received a boost this week with the Scottish Executive's announcement that it will support a major project that will see Scottish-made Polemis devices installed in Orkney.

A portion of the £8m that the Executive has already allocated to marine energy will go to support a project to install Pelamis wave devices at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, executive minister Nicol Stephen said.

Speaking after a visit to the world’s first commercial wave energy project in Portugal where Scottish-made Pelamis devices are to be installed, he said he wants to see the devices operating in Scotland by the summer of 2007.

“I am committed to supporting Scotland’s huge wave and tidal energy resource. Scotland has a real opportunity to be a world leader in this field.”

“The opportunity now exists to create a multi-million pound industry based in Scotland, employing thousands of highly skilled people,” he said.

Changes to the Scottish renewables obligations currently being finalised should “point the way forward for marine energy,” he added.

Following a deal between Ocean Power Delivery (ODP), the Edinburgh-based manufacturers of the wave devices, and a Portuguese consortium led by Enersis, the machines are set to be installed off the north coast of Portugal and should be producing 2.25MW of energy once fully operational.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth welcomed the announcement: “Wave and tidal power could supply a fifth of UK energy needs and Scotland is ideally placed to generate significant amounts of this pollution-free energy.

“However, there is a danger that unless we see full-scale devices in our waters soon that the world-leading expertise Scotland has built up will rapidly depart these shores,” said FoE Scotland chief executive Duncan McLaren.

For more information on tidal power can be found in the Carbon Trust report on the future of wave and tidal technologies.

Goska Romanowicz

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