Voith Siemens Hydro has announced that an agreement between its Scottish subsidiary Wavegen and npower renewables - a British subsidiary of RWE - might lead to the development of a 3MW wave energy plant in the Hebridean island of Lewis.
The technology to be used in this plant would be based on Wavegen’s Limpet plant on the island of Islay. This plant utilizes Oscillating Water Column (OWC) technology and is the only grid connected OWC plant operating under commercial conditions. The plant has been operating since 2000.
If the project goes ahead, npower renewables and Wavegen would integrate Wavegen’s OWC technology into a new breakwater. By combining such a renewable energy project with the breakwater development, civil engineering costs could be shared and could result in a considerable cost reduction for the wave power plant, while providing local benefit from the new breakwater that creates a new harbour for the local infrastructure. The plant could provide electricity for around 1500 homes per year.
When feasibility work is concluded successfully, the project will apply for funds from the British Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ‘Marine Renewable Development Fund’. This national UK based financing mechanism aims to provide both capital and revenue support for initial arrays of wave energy plant.
A key requirement for support under this programme is that the technology must have been demonstrated at full scale for an uninterrupted period of at least three months.