Renew On Line (UK) 47

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 147 Jan-Feb 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. More Offshore wind

2. UK still at bottom of the EU league

3.New Planning Rules for Renewables

4. Regional Renewables: NE plans

5.More PV Solar


7. Better Building Summit

8. Doubts over funding for offshore wind

9. Coal Mine Methane exempted from levy

10. Party Pieces

11. Clear Skies:  More local projects

12. Marine Renewables

13. World Developments

14. Nuclear News

12. Marine Renewables

SW Wave & Tidal

RegenSW, the new regional renewable energy group for the South West, which recently set up a marine renewables programme (see Renew 146), has called on the government to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of wave and tidal potential in the Southwest immediately, since otherwise projects now being proposed (see Box below) could be delayed. The government has said that an SEA is a precondition for offshore development. In its next round the government plans to assess the Thames Estuary, Greater Wash and Liverpool Bay, and, under current plans, the Southwest would not have an SEA until 2006/07 at the earliest. However, RegenSW pointed out that several companies in the region have expressed an interest in offshore energy projects or are already developing projects- notably MCT’s Seaflow tidal turbine.  And the SW offshore wave and tidal resource is significant.  RegenSW has been pressing for action-  the Southwest’s SEA would be likely to cost between £30,000 and £2m.

Cornish wave hub

Up to 30 wave turbines could be situated 10 km off the Cornish coast ,  supplying about 30 MW of power, according to a report by Regen South West for the Regional Development Agency. Although the cost would be £6-9m Regen SW noted that “North Cornwall has got a world class wave resource.”

Faroes Wave power

Wavegen is joining forces with SEV, the Faroese electricity company, to bring wave energy to the Faroe Islands by means of a wave power station built into a tunnel on a cliff face. The companies are forming a joint venture company to oversee the project’s initial design and engineering phase with a value of £600,000.   Phase two will see the construction of the wave power station using a series of Wavegen’s air turbine power generation modules in a project worth up to £7m.  This is seen as providing the blueprint for wave power stations in similar locations both in the Faroes and other parts of the world. The Faroese device will be based on the existing oscillating water column technology utilised in the Islay plant.  The key innovative feature will be the use of tunnels cut into the cliffs on the shoreline to form the chamber which captures the energy. The new design offers a novel and complementary approach to shoreline devices that is completely unobtrusive and well protected.


TidEl moves on      

SMD’s TidEl tidal electrical generator has been given the go ahead to begin the next phase of development by the DTI, who are partially funding the project.  The full scale model will be rated at 1MW, but initially a 1/10 scale functional model will be built and tested to gather performance and reliability data, this is scheduled for end 2003.   See:

Stingray  Boost

Stingray developer, the Engineering Business, has formed  a new company, Tidal Energy Business Ltd (TEB) to spearhead the development of Stingray. TEB has been established by EB and the New and Renewable Energy Centre based in Blyth, Northumberland: The new company will own the existing Stingray technology and IP, with NaREC making an investment of £1 million in the Stingray project via TEB. TEB’s  new website is at  

The Stingray hydroplane prototypes’ second season of testing last summer, off the Shetlands, seems to have gone very well, involving  tests on a number of control strategies, allowing EB to select the optimum, followed by evaluation of the output of the generator over a series of tides.

* The Renewable Power Associations  Ocean Energy Group conference at NaREC last year attracted 140+ eager to gain an up-to-date view of the wave and tidal industry.  Conference proceedings  are available on CD-ROM for £30+VAT. Contact :

* The Carbon Trust has launched a Marine Energy Challenge programme to encourage developers to benefit from significant cost-engineering and performance analysis of their wave and tidal devices.

Orkney Wave Centre opens

The test centre for wave technology on the Orkneys is now open. The multi-million pound centre, run by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), will use the exposed Pentland Firth as a testing ground for the latest wave energy devices.  EMEC,  which has been in development for two years, has the capacity to conduct four separate tests at any one time and aims to generate about £500,000 a year. It has benefitted from £5m funding from a range of sources including the Scottish Executive, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and the Carbon Trust.

EMEC’s managing director, Andrew Mill, told the Scotsman (Oct. 2, 2003) that the centre would provide an independent assessment of the practical worth of wave energy developments. “Companies from across the world can come and test their technology in a way that will satisfy future investors. The area is the best in the world- there is nothing between us and Newfoundland.”

Mill explained that EMEC had been set up as a not-for-profit business, but aimed to be self-funding within around three years.  “Over the initial phase of the centre, we plan to rely less and less on our backers, but the main objective is be a catalyst in growing wave energy technology in Scotland”.

EMEC’s income will come from charging companies for use of the centre, while it will also take a share of the power generated through the testing and sell it to mainland operators such as ScottishPower or Scottish & Southern Energy. The opening of EMEC beats arch rivals Portugal, which is in the process of building a similar site in the Bay of Biscay.  The first company to use the facility will be Edinburgh-based firm Ocean Power Delivery, which is putting the finishing touches to a prototype Pelamis sea snake device which it aims to use for the UK’s first offshore wave farms.  OPD’s business development director, Max Carcas, said: ‘EMEC has eased the development of our technology considerably- without it we would have had to apply for a high-risk capital grant. Now we can concentrate on the technology.’ 

OWL Wave Master

Ocean WaveMaster Limited (OWL) has been formed as a partnership between the inventor Alex Southcombe and UMITEK (UMIST’s  technology development company ) to research, develop and commercialise the WaveMaster wave-power system. It consists of two submerged boxes with pressure valves allowing  the differential pressures under wave peaks and troughs to drive submerged turbines. See:

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