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Investment boosts wave and tidal technologies

Mar 14, 2007 International Power Engineer

Scotland has increased its funding for wave and tidal power by 5m to meet demand, bringing total investment in the sector up to 13m.

The money will be shared out between nine projects aimed at developing new or improving existing marine power technology, mostly at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, where the world's biggest commercial wave power farm is now being developed.

Over 4m in funding will go to a development project that involves arranging four units of the 750kW Pelamis wave device into a single wave energy array, giving a total output of 3MW. A world first was achieved when Pelamis, a marine energy converter developed by Edinburgh-based Ocean Power Delivery, generated electricity for the National Grid from EMEC's wave test site off Billia Croo, Stromness. A second test site for tidal devices off the island of Eday is nearing completion. Pelamis is currently under test in Portugal.

In December 2006, Irish energy technology company OpenHydro successfully completed the installation of the first tidal turbine at EMEC.

EMEC is the first centre of its kind to be created anywhere in the world and offers developers internationally the opportunity to test prototype devices in unrivalled wave and tidal conditions with comprehensive round-the-clock monitoring. The company was established to help the evolution of marine energy devices from the prototype stage into the commercial market place.

Generators are connected to the National Grid via seabed cables running from open-water test berths. Testing takes place in a wide range of sea and weather conditions.

Nicol Stephen, Deputy First Minister, said, "Scotland has the potential to generate a quarter of Europe's marine energy and kick-starting the sector is vital if we are to create a significant industry based in Scotland and meet our long-term renewables targets."


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