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Wave Power Works in Scotland

Posted in Renewables,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the August 5th, 2008

Wave power took a significant step forward last week when the Scottish Energy Minister, Jim Mather, officially switched on a prototype 100kW turbine on the coast of Islay. The generator belongs to WaveGen, and small versions of the plant, named “Limpet”, have been operating since late 2000. The new protoype is being tested in advance of a planned 4 MW plant to be built at Siadar Bay on the Isle of Lewis.

Unlike other proposed wave generation systems, the Limpet does not bob around in the water but, as its name suggests, clings to the rocky shore line. The action of the waves forces air in and out of the turbine chamber, and the turbine usefully generates power from air movement in both directions. The plant is enclosed in a concrete bunker that is small and anonymous enough to please all but the most ardent environmentalist, and because it is on shore it is easy to service and connect to the grid.

More information is available from the Wavegen brochure (PDF) and npower’s web site for the Siadar Bay project. The BBC has a video report from the Islay site.

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