to£2.3m to support the development and demonstration of a
series of new wave energy devices off the Western Isles.
finalisation of the project's technical assessement by the DTI. The
funding offer will be based on three devices, located in shallow
waters and based on an extension of the oscillating water column
principles already demonstrated onshore.
Speaking in Stornoway, Mr Wilson said:
'I am a strong supporter of wave energy and am determined to ensure
that the UK remains the world leader as the technology takes off.
Wavegen have submitted a very exciting proposal for DTI funding and I
am convinced it can make a major contribution to the development of
this new industry.
'Our assessors are still pursuing a number of technical questions
with Wavegen but it is clear that there is sufficient merit in the
project for me to announce the Department's intention in principle to
back it. A formal letter of commitment will follow when issues
relating to the sequential development of the three devices and other
outstanding points have been resolved. I hope this can be done very
'I am also very hopeful that Wavegen will choose to manufacture the
devices at Arnish on Lewis, leading to an early re-opening of the
yard. Arnish is an ideal facility for renewables-related
manufacturing and I am confident that it will soon be playing a major
role in supporting the huge expansion of renewable energy, both wind
and wave, in Scotland and beyond.'
Speaking later at the annual general meeting of Harris Development
Ltd in Tarbert, Isle of Harris, Mr Wilson said it was 'essential'
that communities should see direct, tangible benefits from renewable
energy developments in return for accepting and promoting them.
Mr Wilson added:
'If crofting law did not exist in the Highlands and Islands then it
would have to be invented for this purpose. Crofting communities are
entitled by law to half the development value of projects which take
place on their land. That is a principle which could usefully be
applied throughout the UK if we are serious about winning acceptance
for renewable projects.
'Developers will have noted the strong public support for renewables
projects in crofting areas. This is clearly related to the perceived
benefits in terms of both jobs and royalties. It is a message which
should not be lost on the industry, or indeed on landowners elsewhere
in the country. If they want support for their projects, they should
offer something in return.
'Better still, of course, there are community-owned estates in the
Highlands and Islands which are in a position to negotiate on their
own behalf. I can assure any community landowner of my own
Department's support, along with the Scottish executive, in
identifying and developing the energy assets at their disposal.'
1. The government is very supportive of renewable energy and has
set an ambitious target of securing 10% of electricity supplies
from renewables by 2010.
2. Wave energy is a potentially very exciting source of energy and
Wavegen have the only operational shoreline wave energy device in
the UK. It is widely accepted that the future for wave energy is to
move offshore where there is a much larger resource. Wavegen have
therefore applied for funding to develop an intermediate device
that will be used in shallow waters based on an extension of the
oscillating water column principles already demonstrated onshore.
The advantage of this concept is its simplicity.
3. The funding will come from the£100m allocated last year
by the prime minister for renewable energy development.