Huge waves recorded off Lewis

7 Oct 11 - Ian Harris, Resource Analyst

Wave power off Lewis

Monster waves the height of a four storey house have just been recorded off the coast of Lewis, according to a BBC report earlier this week. The news is further proof that this Hebridean island's north west coastline boasts some of the best wave energy resource anywhere in the world.

This is great news for the UK's wave energy industry and the reason why Aquamarine Power is proposing to develop an Oyster wave farm in the area.

Waves of more than 15m (49ft) were measured by devices called wave rider buoys during gales which occurred off Lewis on Monday night.  The buoys were installed at sea as part of the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures Project.

The recordings were made by Lews Castle College UHI, which is involved in the project alongside Aquamarine Power amongst others.

Of course big waves don't just bring energy; they bring large structural loads too.  The challenge for our industry is to design efficient wave energy devices that can survive the biggest waves the oceans can deliver. Far out at sea where waves like those recorded in Lewis earlier this week occurred, that's a tough task.

That's why we've designed our Oyster wave energy device to be installed near to the shore.  Oyster sits in seas around 13 metres water depth, between 500m and 1km from shore.

At this depth we can predict accurately the highest possible wave height (around 9 metres).  The intelligent design of Oyster means that energy can still be absorbed from these large nearshore waves, while the natural ducking motion of the Oyster device allows excess energy in a large wave to pass over the top of the device.

Read the BBC article online.