UK wave energy, tidal energy companies compete for Saltire Prize in Scotland

Four alternative energy companies in the United Kingdom will be competing for the £10 million Saltire Prize clean energy Grand Challenge in Orkney, Scotland.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed representatives from wave energy companies Aquamarine Power and MeyGen, as well tidal energy companies Pelamis and ScottishPower Renewables, at the Grand Challenge launch event. “Scotland’s clean energy challenge to the world has helped draw international attention to the planet-saving potential of wave and tidal power,” he said in his speech. With the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney hosting an array of devices, we should not lose sight of how far this vibrant young industry has come in recent years. 

The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors – reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy. The four competitors have stepped up to the challenge,” Deputy First Minister Sturgeon said, “and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world’s seas and oceans.”

The four Saltire Prize Grand Challenge participants are all experts in generating clean energy. Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave power technology converts energy in nearshore waves into electricity. Pelamis, in comparison, is an offshore wave energy converter. MeyGen’s plans to build half a dozen tidal turbines in the Pentland Firth off the northern coast of Caithness. Last but not least, ScottishPower Renewables is studying the potential of Ness of Duncansby to host a tidal energy project. 

The Scottish coast is home to some of the world’s strongest tidal currents and most powerful waves. Major power and engineering conglomerates are now investing in wave and tidal energy technologies in Scotland and abroad.

Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters now have lease agreements for 1.6 GW of installed marine energy generating capacity. More than 11 wave and tidal energy devices have been deployed or are being deployed at EMEC. Deputy First Minister Sturgeon expects that by 2014, there will be 14 devices in operation.

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