Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Feb 20

Wave Power in Scotland

Posted in Energy Industry | Wave Power

Wave PowerThe development of the first subsea commercial wave farm by a Scottish company took another important step forward today (Tuesday February 20th 2007) with news that Scottish wave energy company, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd. based in Alness, Ross-shire, has secured £2.128 million funding from the Scottish Executive. The funds will be used to develop and commercialise AWS’ Archimedes Wave Swing, one of the few proven technologies worldwide for generating clean, renewable electricity from the ocean’s waves. The support for AWS is part of a £13 million support package for Scottish marine energy developers funded by the Scottish Executive, which aims to establish Scotland as a world leader in marine energy.

The Archimedes Wave Swing is submerged at least six metres below the sea surface which, as well as removing visual impact and hazards to shipping, avoids high storm impacts. Compared to most other wave energy devices, the Wave Swing also takes up a proportionately smaller area of the sea, in relation to power generated. Following a successful pilot project in Portugal, the £2.128 million will be used to develop a pre-commercial model of the device at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

AWS believes that this work will lead directly to the construction of the first mini wave farm of Archimedes units in Scottish waters, by the third quarter of 2010, expanding within 12 months to 20 units. Contract discussions for this are already underway with a leading utility. Invisible from the surface, the Archimedes device is a cylinder shaped buoy, moored to the seabed. Passing waves move an air filled upper casing against a lower fixed cylinder, with the up and down movement converted into electricity. With a low environmental impact and high power density, Archimedes can survive the most violent storms and downtime is minimised through maintenance at sea.

Rigorous testing at EMEC will help AWS build a greater understanding of the device’s performance in an extensive range of conditions, with an emphasis on demonstrating long term survivability and reliable power generation. Around 25 metres high and 12 metres in diameter, the commercial units will be rated at 1 Megawatt generating around 3,000 Megawatt hours of electricity in a typical year. That is similar to one large wind turbine and equivalent to the electricity demands of around 300 homes. The main early markets for Archimedes will be Scotland, Portugal and Spain.

News of the Scottish Executive award caps a tremendous year for AWS. In April 2006, the company secured £2 million investment from RAB Capital, a London based hedge fund, allowing expansion up to the current headcount of eight at its base in Alness, Ross-shire. Significant development of the technology has been achieved and, more recently, AWS announced the appointment of four highly experienced non-executive directors to support the company’s on-going growth.

Simon Grey, chief executive, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd. said, “This very welcome funding support from the Scottish Executive provides the essential next step in the development of our technology, in order to open the door to subsequent commercial sales. There is a real sense of momentum building now with the Archimedes device, it is selected consistently as one of the world leading technologies in its sector and we are very confident that its future commercial exploitation will help establish Scotland as a global leader in marine energy.”

Paul Taylor

  • Taylor Keogh Communications

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  • Adrian Akau

    I would like to see an upgraded comprehensive report on the development of ocean power. It should include results of tests on wave devices such as the Archimedes and Pelamis and also the stationary one being used in Australia to produce both power and fresh water as well as the type which may be submerged completely under water. I would like to see test results for the free flow water turbines both in tidal and in open ocean conditions.

  • William W Moore

    Supposing someone uses wave energy to produce hydrogen from sea water, what then? Is there a market for hydrogen as fuel? All the hydrogen fuel I hear about is from fuel cells. Nobody is talking about just plain hydrogen

    Will Moore
    Valley Springs, California

  • Christine M.

    I have two questions. Is the energy produced enough so that large companies can use it; esspecially those that are positioned near the ocean? would they find it economical and cost effective? Also, I wanted to ask if you can ell me which parts of the world regularly have the required kinds of waves for this to be an effective power source if they could afford it.

  • Emery Thibodeau

    Are there any countries or areas that are now powered by wave power, if so what are the results? This seems like an excellent source of power for places with high fuel costs if indeed the cost of wave power is not dependant on fossil fuels. This source of power seems to be similar to hydroelectric power in that it would have a large initial investment with a small operating overhead.

  • kristen obrien

    Having only researched wave energy technology superficially, I put forward a few comments that i have not seen in the 7 – 10 sites I have reviewed.

    “We” do need a diverse, renewable sources of power that will decrease and hopefully, stop our dependancy on fossil fuels.

    I have not seen any positive assurance that these buoys will not have any impact on mammals, fish, and cartilagenous fish that migrate and traverse the world’s oceans using their own innate forms of navigation. Electrical sources that have been artificially introduced into oceans have caused trauma and sometimes deaths in mammals and other sea-life.

    An independant organization can provide an objective report of what could contribute and/or cause harm to mammals and other sea-life. thank you.

  • matt c

    For a very interesting article on new wave power click This is about a new way to transform the waves energy into electricity. It is still only in prototype phase but it is estimated to be more cost effective then the Pelamis P-750 being used in Portugal and produce a greater amount of electricity. This is most likely going to be the new age of wave power. One Wave Dragon Unit is expected to produce 7 Mega Watts. As of this year Portugal is planning to build a way farm out of it and the estimated amount of electricity that will be produced is 77 M/W. Go to and type wave dragon and there is a video on it.

  • Ian Thorpe

    I read of this technology a while ago and mentioned it in an article on (linked but don’t be put off by the title which satirically refers to another technology) The article aroused a lot of interest and a number of people asked for more information.

    I’ll post a small follow up with links to this page. You are onto something really good with this.

  • Emily

    I think wave power is much more efficient than regular electricity… I think it is better for our planet!!!

  • Lorelei

    Kristen Obrien’s comment about the “impact on mammals, fish, and cartilagenous fish that migrate and traverse the world’s oceans using their own innate forms of navigation.” is also a concern of mine. It seems to me the damage to the oceans will be high and unless protection is thought of now and built into the devises for the marine life it could cause more damage than other alternatives.

  • Richard

    In response to the concern of “impact on wildlife” It seems that most people are in the opinion that there is no harm happening to the seas at the moment?! Yes there will be impacts on sea life. Just as there have been since Men took to the seas Decades upon Decades ago. Is it MORE harmful than what is currently happening? Certainly Not!! Scotland itself has enough potential in its Waves to generate around 1/5 of Europe’s needs in certain areas. As soon as The harnessing of the Power already in place is approved and implemented the sooner we can stop the process’s that Really cause harm.

    Yes there will be harm of sorts but live with it. In the end it will be so beneficial to the environment.

  • Jennifer Honeyfield

    If we use ocean waves as a renewable source of energy, what would be the impact on the ocean wildlife? Also how many homes would ocean waves be able to supply energy in 1 DAY? Although I think that ocean waves as a source of energy, I think that we are better off using wind and solar energy. Until we develop better methods, oil is just going to have to do.

  • Garry Marshall

    In response to the several inquiries on electrical effects on wildlife. There is no electricity under the ocean bed (with the seabedded technologies)it only forms electricity when it hits the onland generators.

    Wave technologies which sit on top of the wave is completely useless and should be regarded as old technology. Have a look also at whom I believe to have the very best in technology around.

    Not only does it not require huge machinery for set up, its out of the way, pumps desalinated water and is proved.

  • David Quinn

    Historically wave energy development has been blighted by the problems associated with the visual impact of the devices, the cost to build and maintain expensive electricity generation equipment at sea, the potential impact on marine life due to the use of lubricants and the ability to survive high energy events, i.e. storms. Over the past 5 years several wave energy capture concepts have emerged that seek to address those limitations and consider an alternative means to commercialise this renewable resource. Those companies leading this approach have abandoned attempts to find a way of building wave capture devices that sit on the surface of the sea and instead have looked to fully submerged models.

    I agree with Garry Marshall’s assessment that the Aussie company called Carnegie is probably a world leader in developing this approach. Their CETO solution is reaching the final stages of its sea trials ahead of a commercial development of a 50MW site beginning next year. Initial funding of CETO was provided by UK based Renewable Energy Holdings, who have just entered into a scheme of arrangement with Carnegie to transfer their IP interests in the project back to Carnegie.

    So by approaching wave energy using fully submerged devices such as CETO the problems mentioned above are no longer obstacles. In the case of CETO:
    – It is submerged in 15 to 50m so it is not an eye sore or navigational hazard and deep enough not to be affected by storm damage;
    – It does not use any (petroleum or synthetic) lubricants;
    – All expensive generation equipment is based on shore;
    – Has an estimated life of 20 years
    – Can be used to generate electricity or desalinate sea water;
    – It is base load due to the enduring nature of waves; and
    – The technology has recently been given WWF thumbs up; in fact the CETO test pumping farm based in Fremantle WA has acted as an artificial reef and attracted wildlife.

    Carnegie commissioned an engineering report regarding the suitability of wave power in southern Australia waters; the result is that Australia could recover up to 3 x their total energy requirements, which hits its southern shores every day. Unfortunately Australia also has an almost limitless amount of cheap coal.

    Finally (didn’t mean to go on so) the SA investment bank Investec has committed 25M AUD to Carnegie to develop its first commercial site. The largest investment ever granted to a wave energy company and one that I’m sure Investec made only after considerable and careful due diligence.

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