Britain Invests in Power from Ocean Waves

One of the best-known companies in the field of wave-powered generating stations, WaveGen has attracted government funding in Britain of £1.67 million toward the development of the world’s first floating mini power station using wave power.

ISLE OF ISLAY, Scotland, UK, 2001-09-25 [SolarAccess.com] This funding is above the £5 million in private investment raised recently by the company. The wave machine is expected to be launched next summer from a new marine energy testing centre to be built in Orkney. Once operational in a location to be decided, the technology will supply electricity to 1,400 homes. Wavegen has developed a family of closely related devices to exploit coastal renewable energies, including a 0.5 MW Limpet power station that is generating power now on the Isle of Islay. It has also developed the Osprey 2 MW near shore gravity anchored wave station that is designed for regional power generation and coastal protection, and claims a working life of 60 years. It has also developed the Wosp, a 3.5 MW near shore combined wave and wind station. “Wavepower has a huge part to play in our drive for renewable energy and is at the frontline of the technology,” says British energy minister Brian Wilson. “Our oceans are a major potential energy source and can lead to a new industry for the U.K. in which I am determined that we should be world leaders.” “A green revolution is taking place in the U.K.,” he adds. “The market place is now ripe for industry to invest in these exciting technologies and I commit the government to doing all we can to encourage this process.” The Wavegen modules are designed to be installed individually to harness up to 3.5 MW of energy, or in multiple units and in stages when larger quantities of electricity are required. Wind turbines can also be added to individual Osprey modules or to arrays of Limpet modules to further enhance the power output. The company is also developing the Powerbuoy, an offshore multi-megawatt floating wave station in conjunction with the oil industry. “This development means wave power will be able to contribute to the government’s target of producing 10 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2010,” adds Wilson. “The government is expecting to create a £1 billion market for renewable energy by 2010 and direct investment of over £250 million over the next three years will contribute towards this.”

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