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UK minister waves ocean power onto renewable scene

FOLLOWING ON FROM recent announcements which have heartened the UK hydro industry, Energy Minister Brian Wilson has unveiled new plans for wave power.

During a visit to a wave power centre on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, Wilson committed £1.67M (US$2.4M) to developing the world’s first floating, mini wave power station connected to the national grid. Expected to be launched next summer from a marine energy testing centre in Orkney, it will provide power for 1400 homes.

Wavegen, the company behind the scheme, has already successfully developed the first grid-connected shoreline generator on Islay called Limpet 500. Wilson commended Wavegen for its commitment to such projects and said the company has a huge part to play in the drive for renewable energy.

‘I hope other companies will follow its example,’ he said. ‘Our oceans are a major potential energy source and can lead to a new industry for the UK, in which I am determined that we should be world leaders.’ Believing that a green revolution is taking place in the UK, Wilson said the market is now ripe for investment in these ‘exciting technologies’, and said the government will do all it can to encourage this process.

•For more details on the Limpet 500 see the September 1999 issue of IWP&DC (pp32-3).