Approval from the Scottish government will allow hydrokinetic developer Aquamarine Power to construct what will become the world’s largest fully-permitted ocean energy site.
The project is to be located off the northwest coast of Lewis, Scotland, and will produce 40 MW of energy when complete.
“This is a significant milestone for our company,” Aquamarine CEO Martin McAdam said. “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 currently working hard on getting the technology right, and we now have a site where we can install our first small farm.”
Aquamarine Power, via its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lewis Wave Power Limited, will begin installing generating units after the necessary grid infrastructure has been placed over the next few years.
The project will use Aquamarine’s “Oyster 800” wave energy converters, which are now undergoing evaluation at Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The units look much like a hinge, with one half anchored to the seabed and the other free to move in the current. The resulting motion is then converted into power.
Ultimately, Aquamarine said, as many as 50 of the Oyster devices could be installed along the Lewis coast.
“This is another significant milestone for Scotland’s wave sector,” said Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism. “With 10% of Europe’s wave power potential and 25% of its offshore wind and tidal power potential, the opportunities for Scotland are enormous.”