A cluster of wave power devices for the Western Isles was brought closer to reality last week with the awarding of £3.7million (US$5.9 million) to marine technology companies by UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson.London, England – January 21, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Two companies – Wavegen and Tidal Hydraulic Generators Ltd (THGL) – have now passed the necessary technical appraisal to take their projects from design-stage to prototype in an effort that could produce electricity for the national grid. Inverness-based Wavegen, is being awarded £2.1 million (US$3.4 million) to harness wave energy from a new prototype, building on their past experience with the world’s first commercial wave machine on the Isle of Islay and other devices. THGL, who operate out of Broad Haven in Pembrokeshire, will receive £1.6 million (US$2.6 million) to develop and test a tidal stream prototype whichcould be deployed in areas of fast tidal flow around the world. “Wave and tidal power have huge potential to supply a significant proportion of the country’s future energy needs, said Wilson. “Britain is already a world-leader in this technology. However, it is essential that we move from the research and development phase, which has been going on for many years, into commercial application.” The UK has committed to supporting the development of new, Renewable Energy technologies, setting a target of 10 percent of electricity supply from renewables by 2010. Wavegen is one of the UK’s leading developers of wave energy technology and have successfully constructed the “Limpet 500”, a shoreline wave energy electricity generator operating on Islay in Scotland which utilizes oscillating water column (OWC) technology. This new concept is also based on the use of OWC and its development will help realise the potential for its application offshore. Formed in 2000, THGL is a company with the aim of developing this and other tidal stream power generation technologies to commercialization. This project will result in the construction of a prototype device consisting of a seabed fixed frame supporting five turbines.