Orkney to exploit energy of the waves
The waters which pound the Orkney coastline are about to give the islands a leading role in Scotland's growing wave energy field. Councillors are expected to give the go-ahead for a £ 5.5 mm wave-energy test centre which has the potential to become a European centre of excellence in green power.
An application for outline planning permission has been submitted to the islands council by Highlands and Islands
Enterprise (HIE) for the establishment of four offshore testing berths to the west of Billia Croo Bay, near
Stromness. The centre is seen as a major step forward in the development of new renewable wave energy sources.
Government estimates predict the market will be worth more than £ 1 bn over the next decade.
Experts studied several sites in Caithness, the Western Isles and Islay before choosing Orkney as the preferred location for the centre. The area was chosen because its wave power and currents, the relatively short distance offshore developers need to go to exploit the resources, its suitable connections to power lines and its sheltered waters all make for easier construction.
It is hoped that the new test areas will help establish wave energy plants around Scotland in the same way that wind energy developments have now started to develop. Elaine Hanton, HIE's energy projects manager, said: "With its strong winds and stormy waters, Scotland is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that the renewable energy sector presents."