|Lewis Says No to Wind, but What about Waves?|
April 25, 2008
Npower submits planning application for pilot wave-energy project off coast of Scottish island
The Isle of Lewis may have just seen plans for a huge onshore wind farm
rejected, but the island's prospects as a renewable energy hub are not dead in
the water just yet after energy giant Npower submitted a planning application
for a pilot wave-energy project.
Npower Renewables proposes working with Inverness-based firm Wavegen to install
a 4MW system based on "oscillating waster column" technology in Lewis' Siadar Bay.
If planning approval is granted, work on the system will begin in 2009 and is
expected to last 18 months. The project would see the construction of a special
breakwater containing a series of turbines and air chambers. The waves force air
through the chambers, driving the turbines.
"This is an important stepping stone to realising larger wave-energy projects
around European coastal regions," said Kevin McCullough, chief operating officer
at RWE Innogy, the renewable energy division of Npower's parent company RWE,
adding that the project would deliver enough energy to meet the annual power
needs of about 1,500 homes on the Isles of Lewis and Harris.
The move follows a similar project between Npower and Bristol-based wave-energy
specialist Marine Current Turbines, to build one of the world's first commercial
wave farms off the coast of Anglesey in north Wales.
However, it remains to be seen if planning permission for the Lewis project will
be granted. Last week the Scottish government refused planning permission to a
proposed 650MW wind farm after residents complained about the potential impact
on local ecosystems.