On the 23rd of May the Scottish government has given the go ahead to Edinburgh-based company Aquamarine Power to set up power generation plant in the form of “Wave Parks” which will generate electricity harnessing the inexhaustible tidal energy off the cost of the Western Isles.
Not surprisingly at all, the decision to green light the project, which will lead to the construction of the world's largest wave farm, was announced to the media by Fergus Ewing who is the Scottish minister responsible for portfolios of ENERGY, Enterprise & tourism. The Scottish government's decision to allow this Wave Park followed a go ahead by “Group of Ministers” committee set up by the authorities to look into the pros and cons of such infrastructure in an ecologically sensitive place.
As per the Scotland government communiqué announcing this landmark approval – the green company has been given the “license to setup & develop the largest wave park” in the world as of date. The Scottish government, based on their internal fact finding committees, believes that Scotland has the potential to produce up to ten percent of total Europe’s wave power output. The Scottish government financially backs energy companies which are investing in research and development in this stream by setting up pounds “eighteen million” fund under the “Marine renewable Commercialization Fund” to help companies turn these new technologies into commercial successes.
Aquamarine Power headed by Irishman Marcin McAdam has hailed the government decision and indicated that Aquamarine had drawn up plans as part of which up to 50 wave turbines would be installed on the ocean bed off the island of Lewis in phases over the next five years. These 50 wave turbines will form the backbone of the proposed Wave Park. Aquamarine Power plans to build and commission these 50 wave turbines in phases. This is to make sure that the electrical grid and cable systems required to transfer the generated electricity is also in place.
Aquamarine Power forecasts that on commissioning & operationalization of the full fledged Wave Park – up to forty megawatts of electricity would be generated. This amount of electricity would be enough to light up the 30,000 households which make up the Fivepenny Borve township situated on the cost of the Western Isles. Aquamarine Power has gone on record to state that the success of this green initiative is dependent on making the technologies more reliable and ensuring that a “route to market” is created to take these offerings to end users.
The challenges faced by this green and clean energy project are many and would need a sustained and innovative approach to be taken by the companies which are investing to produce power and also the upstream and the downstream entities which complete the energy sector. In perspective is the announcement of energy giant SSE in which it was indicated that the company would not be able to commission work on western isles subsea electricity cable / grid till end of 2017.
These above kind of practical issues and the need for additional billions of pounds needed to streamline and optimize the new technology might still delay the success of such commendable green and clean energy projects like this “Wave Park” of the Scottish cost.