UK ENERGY MINISTER BRIAN Wilson has announced plans for a cluster of shore-based wave power stations in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Energy company Scottish and Southern will be working with Inverness-based developer Wavegen to establish suitable sites and produce project proposals. The intention is to build demonstration plants that will also provide commercial generation for Scottish and Southern.

Wavegen has already developed and installed a commercial wave power station, with a capacity of 500MW, on the island of Islay.

The UK government is also supporting the development of an offshore device which is likely to be tested in Orkney. Business Engineer-ing will develop and manufacture the Stingray which generates electricity from the oscillatory movement of hydroplanes driven by a flowing tidal current, in Wallsend, Tyneside. The machine will sit on the seabed reducing the need to protect it from stormy weather.

‘Tidal energy has great potential but little has happened until now,’ said Wilson, announcing government support for the Stingray device. ‘The challenge has always been harnessing this energy economically in rough conditions. This project is technologically impressive and maybe a solution to the challenge.’