Projects:  North-west Lewis

Wave power on the Lewis coastline

Aquamarine Power now has full consent from the Scottish Government to develop a 40MW wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis, Scotland - making it the world's largest fully-permitted ocean energy site.

The green light from the government and its regulator Marine Scotland goes alongside onshore planning which was approved by the local council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in September 2012.

This 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 homes.

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 farm.

Significant milestone

"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 large-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 on-going 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 approach.

"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."

Local Support

Commenting on the full consent of the site, Agnes Rennie, Chair of 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 local community.

"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."

Working with local communities

Aquamarine Power's team has worked closely with the local community and stakeholders to identify the most appropriate project site and to explain the proposals. We have also involved local people and businesses in the development work undertaken so far and participated in local supply chain events and the Hebridean Science Festival.

Lewis Wave Power also held a three day public exhibition at the Galson Estate Trust offices and at Martin Memorial Hall in Stornoway in March 2012 to explain the project proposals and provide an opportunity for the community to ask questions and leave feedback.

Potential to power 38,000 homes

Our development has the potential to see between 40 to 50 Oyster wave energy devices installed in the near shore region (10 to 15 metres water depth) on an approximate 3.2 kilometre stretch of coast. Our proposed sites would have a total installed capacity of 40MW and could provide enough energy to power 30,000 homes.

Official Saltire Prize applicant

This project is an official competitor in the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize. The Saltire Prize is a £10 million global prize for the wave or tidal technology which generates the greatest volume of electrical output over 100GWh over a continuous two year period using only the power of the sea. For more info please see:

http://www.saltireprize.com/

Working in partnership

Aquamarine Power is the industry lead in the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures programme. We are working on the project in partnership with Lews Castle College, part of the University of Highlands and Islands.

The Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project is a collaborative research programme which has been undertaking 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 aims to assist the Scottish marine energy industry to move to a commercial scale in the Hebrides.

Milestones

  • 40MW seabed leaseSecured two Lease Option Agreements from Crown Estate, May 2011
  • Environmental monitoringMonitoring of wildlife began October 2010 and was completed in September 2012
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping ReportSubmitted to Marine Scotland, May 2011
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping OpinionReceived from Marine Scotland, August 2011
  • Notice of Pre-Application Consultation Submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, February 2012
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Completed by Royal Haskoning, February 2012
  • Environmental Statement, Section 36 application and Marine Licence applicationSubmitted to Marine Scotland, March 2012
  • Planning in Principle Application (including Pre-Application Consultation Report)Submitted to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, June 2012
  • Onshore planning approvedApproved by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, September 2012
  • Addendum to the Environmental StatementSubmitted to Marine Scotland, October 2012
  • Full consent from Marine ScotlandAwarded in May 2013
The Comhairle has long maintained that the marine energy resource West of Hebrides is among the best in the world. Aquamarine Power’s commitment to this area validates that assessment and puts the area firmly on the renewables map. The Comhairle looks forward to the benefits that the company’s commitment will bring to the Outer Hebrides in terms of fabrication jobs, research activity and supply chain opportunities.
Angus Campbell
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
We congratulate Aquamarine Power's success in securing seabed leases from the Crown Estate with a view to the development of wave energy projects of the west coast of Lewis. Harnessing the marine energy in this area will help to deliver the Scottish Government’s 2020 targets to reduce carbon emissions from renewables. There is also potential to create much needed employment in our islands both directly and through the supply chain. The Trust looks forward in anticipation to meaningful dialogue with Aquamarine Power as this proposed development moves forward. Importantly the local communities affected will need to be consulted on how the proposals impact them.
Lisa Maclean
Commercial Development Manager at community landowner, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust)

Key project contact

Marc Murray

Marc Murray
Marc is our senior site developer and is responsible for managing our site development team. Prior to joining us in 2010, Marc worked at Dounreay nuclear site for 11 years holding a number of project management roles.

As the lead industry partner in the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project we can see clearly the economic and social benefits that could be generated in the Western Isles through a thriving marine energy industry. It is vital to recognise though that we are new arrivals on these islands. We are a young industry and we need to develop our plans in partnership with the people who live here.