Wave power company gets consent for 40MW Lewis wave energy farm

Posted on 22 May 2013

Aquamarine Power has received full consent from the Scottish Government for a 40MW wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis, making it the world's largest fully-permitted ocean energy site.

The announcement was made by the Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing at the All Energy conference in Aberdeen.

The green light from the government and its regulator Marine Scotland, along with onshore planning which was approved last September, means the Edinburgh firm, through its subsidiary Lewis Wave Power, will be able to begin installing their near-shore Oyster wave energy machines at the site in the next few years – once the necessary grid infrastructure has been put in place.

This will ultimately see the deployment of between 40 and 50 Oyster devices along the coast at Lag na Greine, near to Fivepenny Borve, in one of the best wave energy locations in Europe.

Once complete, the farm will have the capacity to power nearly 30,000 homes.

Last year the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), approved planning for the onshore hydroelectric power plant which will be connected to the Oyster wave energy farm.

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

“This is a significant milestone for our company,” said Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam. “The goal of our industry is to become commercial and to do this we need two things – reliable technologies and a route to market. Our engineers are 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.

“We have worked in close consultation with the people and businesses of Lewis in the development of our proposals and would like to express our gratitude for their support.”

He added, “Our development could provide significant economic benefit to the local community in Lewis. In Orkney we have spent over £5 million in the local economy during the installation of the first two Oyster devices and have worked with over 40 local companies as part of our commitment to sourcing much of the services and expertise we require locally.”

Making the announcement, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP said: “I am delighted to announce that Scottish Ministers have granted a Licence to Aquamarine Power to develop the largest commercial wave array in the world. Aquamarine Power is an exciting, dynamic Scottish company that is increasingly expanding its renewable business.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “This is a big step forward for the marine energy sector in the UK and especially in the Scottish Islands, which has such a first-rate marine energy resource.

“Just last week we were told by a Government report that more needed to be done for the Scottish Islands to reap the benefits generated by marine energy projects.