Wave Energy Converts to Electricity in Scottish Oceans

This article was originally published on cnbc.com on Feb. 24, 2020.

A marine services firm based in Scotland has been awarded a £1 million ($1.29 million) contract to provide a 50-ton wave energy converter designed to turn the movement of the sea into electricity.

Malin Renewables will construct a half-scale version of the device, dubbed the Archimedes Waveswing, for AWS Ocean Energy Ltd (AWS). The kit will be fabricated and then put together at a site in the town of Renfrew, near Glasgow.

AWS has described the technology as a “submerged wave power buoy” that “reacts to changes in sub-sea water pressure caused by passing waves.” A direct-drive generator is used to turn this movement, or motion, into electricity.

The Waveswing’s development has been funded through Wave Energy Scotland’s Novel Wave Energy Converter scheme. Set up in 2014, Wave Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish government.

“This particular project enables the team to utilise their expertise in hydraulics, electrical power, air systems, pressure vessels and mooring, delivering an integral piece of equipment for the wave energy sector,” Malin Marine’s Ben Sharples said in a statement issued last week.

The EU has described “ocean energy” as being both abundant and renewable. For its part, Scotland is home to several companies and projects looking to harness this type of power.

In December 2019, Edinburgh-headquartered Nova Innovation said it had been issued with a permit to develop a project in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. The company said a total of 15 tidal stream turbines would be installed by the year 2023. The project, according to Nova Innovation, will produce enough electricity to power 600 homes.

At the end of January 2020, it was announced that a tidal stream power project off the north coast of Scotland had sent more than 13.8 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity to the grid in 2019, a record that almost doubled the previous high of 7.4 GWh.

The 13.8 GWh of electricity exported in 2019 equates to the average yearly electricity consumption of roughly 3,800 “typical” homes in the U.K., according to Simec Atlantis Energy.