U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

ScottishPower Earns Approval for Record Wave Energy Project

October 10, 2007


An illustration of a wave energy plant shows a dozen red pencil-shaped devices, each about 130 yards long, floating perpendicular to the ocean waves and spaced out in a large array.

An artist's concept of the Pelamis wave energy plant.
Credit: Ocean Power Delivery

A Scottish energy company has earned planning approval from its government for a 3-megawatt wave energy project. ScottishPower plans to deploy Pelamis wave energy converters, which consist of large floating cylinders linked together in a way that captures wave energy as the cylinder ends pivot while the cylinders rise and fall in rolling waves. The company hopes to have the facility operating by 2008. The planning approval was announced at the opening of the new European Tidal Test Center in Orkney. ScottishPower and Norwegian company Hammerfest Strom have also joined forces to create a new company, Hammerfest UK, which will develop a full-scale prototype of Hammerfest's tidal energy device, which resembles a wind turbine. The companies plan to deploy the prototype in 2009. See the ScottishPower press release and the Hammerfest Strom Web site.

In September, the U.K. government gave planning approval for another large-scale wave energy system to be located off the coast of Cornwall in southwest England. The Wave Hub project, developed by the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), will involve an onshore substation connected via undersea cable to an energy "hub" located about 10 miles offshore. Wave energy companies will be able to plug their prototypes into this "Wave Hub," using it as a test bed. Four companies have already been selected to use the Wave Hub, which is expected to begin operating in 2009. See the SWRDA press release and the Wave Hub Web site.

DOE is also planning to create an Ocean Energy Program, subject to congressional appropriations. In late September, DOE's Wind and Hydropower Technologies program released a call for proposals from companies or organizations interested in partnering with DOE on wind and ocean energy technologies. These cost-neutral Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) partnerships will leverage industry experience and needs with the technology research and development expertise available at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories. The program has budgeted approximately $1 million for in-kind laboratory-based technical support for these agreements and expects to budget additional funding next fiscal year for additional partnerships. The deadline for submitting proposals is Monday, November 5th. See the announcement on the NREL Web site.