Aquamarine Power secures full consent for 40MW Lewis wave energy farm
22 May 13
Aquamarine Power has received full consent from the Scottish
Government for a 40MW wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis,
Scotland - making it the world's largest fully-permitted ocean
The announcement was made by the Scottish Government's Minister
for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing at the All Energy
conference in Aberdeen.
The green light from the government and its regulator Marine
Scotland, along with onshore planning which was approved last
September, means the Edinburgh firm, through its wholly owned
subsidiary Lewis Wave Power Limited, will be able to begin
installing their near-shore Oyster wave energy machines at the site
in the next few years - once the necessary grid infrastructure has
been put in place.
This will ultimately see the deployment of between 40 and 50
Oyster devices along the coast at Lag na Greine, near to Fivepenny
Borve, in one of the best wave energy locations in Europe. Once
complete, the farm will have the capacity to power nearly 30,000
Last year the local council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western
Isles Council), approved planning for the onshore hydroelectric
power plant which will be connected to the Oyster wave energy
Aquamarine Power are currently testing their second full scale
wave machine, known as the Oyster 800, at the European Marine
Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, and are now producing electrical
power to the grid.
"This is a significant milestone for our company," says
Aquamarine Power Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam. "The goal
of our industry is to become commercial, and to do this we need two
things - reliable technologies and a route to market. Our engineers
are currently working hard on getting the technology right and we
now have a site where we can install our first small farm, with a
larger-scale commercial build out in the years ahead.
"We have worked in close consultation with the people and
businesses of Lewis in the development of our proposals and would
like to express our gratitude for their ongoing support. We were
delighted with the turnout at the series of public exhibitions we
held on Lewis last March, and we also commend government regulator
Marine Scotland and the Western Isles Council for their positive
"We believe wave energy presents an important opportunity for
the Isle of Lewis. Our development could provide significant
economic benefit to the local community. In Orkney, for example, we
have spent over £5 million in the local economy during the
installation of the first two Oyster devices and have worked with
over 40 local companies as part of our commitment to sourcing much
of the services and expertise we require locally."
Making the announcement, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and
Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP said:
"I am delighted to announce that Scottish Ministers have granted
a Licence to Aquamarine Power to develop the largest commercial
wave array in the world. Aquamarine Power is an exciting, dynamic
Scottish company that is increasingly expanding its renewable
"The development of up to 50 Oyster wave devices off the North
West coast of Lewis, when operational, will have the power to
produce 40MW of renewable electricity.
"This is another significant milestone for Scotland's wave
sector. With 10 per cent of Europe's wave power potential,
and 25 per cent of its offshore wind and tidal power potential, the
opportunities for Scotland are enormous."
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables, said:
"This is a fantastic milestone for the Scottish renewables
industry and this project will make a significant contribution to
our energy mix once it begins generating.
"It's further proof that we have become home to a world leading
marine energy industry that is delivering jobs and investment to
communities across Scotland.
"However, we can't forget that this is the kind of prize that
could be lost unless costs for projects to connect to the grid on
the islands are set at a competitive level."
Agnes Rennie, Chair of local landowner Urras Oighreachd
Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust), said:
"It is very encouraging to see the development at Lag na Greine
reaching this important objective, highlighting the abundant wave
resource in north-west Lewis. The Urras and the community look
forward to working with the company through the next stages of the
development towards installation of the Oyster array."
Angus Campbell, Leader, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:
"This is excellent news for the Outer Hebrides and demonstrates
the growing appetite of major energy companies to locate in
Europe's area of best marine resource, here in the islands.
Our Atlantic coast represents one of the best wave energy
resources in Europe and there is no doubt that the area can become
a global player as nascent wave energy technology comes to market,
benefitting carbon reduction targets and regenerating the local
economy. Aquamarine Power's scheme is an important first step
in this process and we have been impressed by their professionalism
as they developed their proposals in close collaboration with the
"Aquamarine Power's technology is, literally, a world leader and
we will continue to work with Aquamarine Power and other developers
to make West of Hebrides the location of choice for what is sure to
become one of the world's most important industries. It is
vital that developing technology like that of Aquamarine Power is
retained in Scotland but, for that, we need to extend our
electricity grid into the areas of best resource. Aquamarine
Power's announcement adds further weight to the call for our
transmission owner, SSE, to move quickly on construction of this
link for which there is so much consented demand."
Maria McCaffery Chief Executive of RenewableUK said:
"This is a big step forward for the marine energy sector in the
UK and especially in the Scottish Islands, which has such a
first-rate marine energy resource.
"These are the type of developments that we hope to see more of
in the coming months and years to herald the opportunity that
marine energy represents. Just last week we were told by a
Government report that more needed to be done for the Scottish
Islands to reap the benefits generated by marine energy projects.
Today's announcement shows the interest industry has in the area,
and we hope it will provide a spur to finding a solution, so that
we can see further development of this excellent resource. "
Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland said:
"This announcement is a fantastic boost for Scotland's marine
renewables sector and will put Lewis firmly on the world map when
it comes to wave energy. However, if Scotland is to rule the waves
when it comes to marine renewables then it's vital we quickly
resolve the issues of grid connection and transmission costs to the
"Alongside energy saving measures, wave power and other
renewables have a critical role to play in helping Scotland reduce
climate emissions, create jobs and generate export opportunities.
With careful planning we can harness the waves and tides while
safeguarding the nation's tremendous marine environment."