A cluster of wave power devices for the Western Isles of the UK was brought closer to reality on 16 January 2003 when Energy Minister Brian Wilson awarded £3.7M (US$5.9M) to marine technology companies.
Two companies – Wavegen and Tidal Hydraulic Generators Ltd (THGL) of the UK – have now passed the necessary technical appraisal to take their projects from design-stage to prototype.
The grants are being awarded to help the development of commercial projects that could produce electricity for the National Grid.
Inverness-based Wavegen is being awarded £2.1M (US$3.4M) to harness wave energy from a new prototype, building on its past experience with the world’s first commercial wave machine on the Isle of Islay and other devices;
THGL, which operates out of Broad Haven in Pembrokeshire, will receive £1.6M (US$2.6M) to develop and test a tidal stream prototype which could be deployed in areas of fast tidal flow around the world.
‘Wave and tidal power have huge potential to supply a significant proportion of the country’s future energy needs,’ said Wilson. ‘Britain is already a world-leader in this technology. However, it is essential that we move from the research and development phase, which has been going on for many years, into commercial application.
‘Success in projects of this sort will further the commercial development of wave and tidal energy and could lead to the creation of a major industrial sector with export potential,’ he added.
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