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(l to r) UHI Project Manager Arne Vögler, with Sarah Brock and Megan Richardson from Aquamarine Power

Aquamarine Power welcomes Western Isles marine energy research project

22 Mar 11

Aquamarine Power today welcomed a new research project that could help to make the Hebrides one of the most valuable and sought-after marine energy sites in Europe.

The Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project - backed by £900k in Scottish Funding Council knowledge exchange grants - is a collaborative research programme which will undertake a range of tasks from seabed surveying and wave energy resource assessments to the modelling of the interaction of different devices and their impact on the electrical grid.

The project will be led by Lews Castle College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and has the backing of a number of marine energy developers, utilities, the local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and the community landlord Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (The Galson Estate Trust), among others.

Aquamarine Power is to take part in the collaborative research as the lead industry partner.

Martin McAdam, Chief Executive of Aquamarine Power, said the project offered an excellent opportunity for the Western Isles to become a real centre of expertise in wave energy. "This research will identify clearly the wave energy potential to the west of the Hebrides and also highlight some of the medium term constraints such as electricity grid infrastructure," he said.

"More than this, however, it will develop skills, knowledge and expertise in the Western Isles which can be retained on the islands and will help generate economic opportunities in the future."    

David Green, principal of Lews Castle College UHI, said: "This project will take the energy research team at Lews Castle College UHI from capacity-building to a major role in a project of immense value to our industrial and university partners.  We have built the team and the skills and the partnerships. Hebridean Marine Energy Futures will make a significant contribution to renewable energy developments of enormous benefit for our communities and is critical to the creation of a vibrant energy industry in the islands."