DCSIMG

Scotland seas into the future

Wave hello to a greener future

Minister announces 13 million boost to kick-start marine power projects

WAVE and tidal power could be as significant to Scotland as the discovery of North Sea oil, Nicol Stephen, the Deputy First Minister, confirmed yesterday as he announced more than 13 million of funding for nine different projects.

The creation of a world-leading industry making green power stations in Scotland could be worth billions of pounds and create thousands of jobs, he said.

He also announced Scotland had already reached its 2010 target of providing 18 per cent of energy consumption from renewable sources and said he would seek advice on whether the 40 per cent target for 2020 should now be increased.

However, experts warned Scotland had missed out on the chance to develop a world-leading wind-turbine industry in the 1980s - with Denmark stepping in to dominate a sector now worth more than 3 billion a year to its economy - and the right conditions had to be created to allow the fledgling marine sector to flourish.

Mr Stephen, speaking in his capacity as enterprise minister at wave-energy firm Ocean Power Delivery in Leith, said: "We may remember being in this factory shed in the winter of 2007 for a long time. I think today is a really important occasion ... we have kick-started the marine-energy drive in Scotland.

"I think all of this is as significant for Scotland's future and arguably more significant for the future of this planet than the discovery of oil in the North Sea.

"I think there's a great opportunity for Scotland to become the renewables powerhouse for Europe and the marine renewables capital of the world. I think there is a huge potential for all of this in a global market worth billions."

The Executive had announced it would provide 8 million to get marine-energy schemes "in the water" last year, but yesterday Mr Stephen said demand had been so high this had been raised to 13 million. He also said that Scotland had reached the 18 per cent renewable energy target three years early, adding: "We need to look at a new interim target on the way to 2020 and look to get past the 2020 target [of 40 per cent] if we possibly can."

Max Carcas, the business development director of Ocean Power Delivery, said the potential market for the marine-power sector had been estimated at 500 billion worldwide and Scotland could take a significant slice of it.

But he cautioned: "It would be wrong to say that it's a done deal on the back of this, but certainly the opportunity is there.

"Last year there was something like 15 billion [10 billion] of turnover in wind turbines. There's no reason why wave energy couldn't be of similar scale."

A key step towards any economic boom from marine renewables will be working out which of the various wave and tidal designs can deliver cost-effective electricity.

David Gibbs, of Wavegen, which runs Scotland's only wave-power machine on Islay and received nearly 150,000 to try out a new, more efficient turbine, said: "Wave power is relatively unproven. There are a number of different technologies in existence. It's yet to be proven which will be successful - but we clearly believe we are going to be one of them."

Jason Ormiston, the acting chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said Scotland had been developing a wind-turbine industry when government funding was cut in the 1980s. Up to 30,000 people now work in the sector in Denmark and in 2005 it made more than 3 billion.

"If we don't get this right we'll miss out on an opportunity again," he said.

The Scottish Green Party said Scotland risked falling behind Portugal, where a 2.25MW wave farm is nearly finished and there are plans to add another 20MW.

POWERBUOY

OCEAN Power Technology's PowerBuoy system has a floating buoy-like device loosely moored to the sea bed so it can move up and down with the waves, creating "mechanical stroking" which drives an electric generator.

It won nearly 600,000 from the Executive.

TIDAL TURBINE

TIDAL Generation's machines are basically underwater turbines. The propeller is turned by the incoming tide and can then turn round to generate power when the tide goes out. The firm was given a 77,000 grant to extract a core sample of seabed from its potential berth area.

HYDRAULIC

AQUAMARINE'S shore-based wave system, called Oyster, uses a 60-tonne flap to capture the power of the waves. It moves back and forth, driving hydraulic rams that send high-pressure sea water to land to drive a generator. The firm received a 275,000 grant from the Executive.

COMPRESSION

AWS Ocean Energy's sub-sea system (main picture) consists of cylinders compressed by the weight of the wave and then released by the lower pressure of a trough. This movement can be turned into 500 kilowatts of electricity. It received 2.1 million from the Executive.

SCOTTISHPOWER

THE ScottishPower scheme, by its subsidiary CRE Energy, will lead to the installation of four Pelamis wave machines, built by Ocean Power Systems, that will produce three megawatts of power. It received more than 4 million in funding from the Scottish Executive.

This system consists of a string of large metal tubes which generate power as they bob up and down on the water, pushing hydraulic rams into a generator between the sections.

This pressurises oil which is then used to drive a turbine.

CAPTURE CHAMBER

WAVEGEN already has an operating wave-power system on Islay.

The Oscillating Water Column system has a reinforced concrete "capture chamber", which allows water to enter at the bottom. As the sea rises and falls, this makes the air pressure in the upper part of the chamber increase and decrease, creating a flow of air through a turbine.

A 149,000 grant will be used to develop and test a more efficient type of generator, which is expected to be used on a wave-energy project at Siadar on Lewis.

OPEN HYDRO SYSTEM

THE open hydro system involves simply putting a ring-shaped turbine into a powerful tidal stream. The device has no external blades to make it turn, but is shaped so that it spins as the water passes through.

The firm has already installed a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre at Orkney.

The large hole in the centre and lack of blades are seen as a way of avoiding harming sea life and, say the firm, "silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment". A 250KW turbine is to be installed at the Orkney test site.

OYSTER

AQUAMARINE'S wave system, called Oyster, uses a 60-tonne flap to capture the power of the waves. It moves back and forth, driving hydraulic rams that send high-pressure sea water to land to drive a generator. The firm received a 275,000 grant from the Executive.

PEAK/TROUGH

AWS Ocean Energy's sub-sea system (main picture) consists of cylinders compressed by the weight of the wave and then released by the lower pressure of a trough. This movement can be turned into 500KW of electricity. It received 2.1 million from the Executive.

PELAMIS

THE ScottishPower scheme, by its subsidiary CRE Energy, will lead to the installation of four Pelamis wave machines, built by Ocean Power Systems, that will produce 3MW of power. The project received more than 4 million in funding from the Scottish Executive.

This system consists of a string of large metal tubes which generate power as they bob up and down on the water, pushing hydraulic rams into a generator between the sections.

This pressurises oil which is then used to drive a turbine.

RING TURBINE

THE Open Hydro system involves putting a ring-shaped turbine into a powerful tidal stream. The device has no external blades to make it turn, but is shaped so that it spins as the water passes through.

The firm has already installed a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre at Orkney.

The large hole in the centre and lack of blades are seen as a way of avoiding harming sea life and, say the firm, "silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment". A 250KW turbine is to be installed at the Orkney test site.

TIDE TURBINE

TIDAL Generation's machines are basically underwater turbines. The propeller is turned by the incoming tide and can then turn round to generate power when the tide goes out. The firm was given a 77,000 grant to extract a core sample of seabed from its potential berth area.

FLOATING ROTORS

ORKNEY-BASED ScotRenewables' scheme involves floating rotors which drive a generator. Each machine can produce 1.2MW. It received an Executive grant of nearly 1.8 million towards the 5 million development costs.

• Cleantechcom's system will consist of two pipes passing through one of Orkney's Churchill barriers between islands. The pipes will capture the tidal surge across the barrier and use this to drive a generator. The project was given a grant of 273,000.

• An extra 2.5 million was given to upgrade the site at the Orkney energy centre.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page

 

EDINBURGH
FESTIVALS
2014

#WOWFEST

In partnership with

Complete coverage of the festivals. Guides. Reviews. Listings. Offers

Let's Go!

No Thanks