21 May, 2002 – UK Energy Minister Brian Wilson yesterday announced Government funding of up to £2.3m to support the development and demonstration of a series of new wave energy devices off the Western Isles.

The award will be made to Wavegen, based in Inverness, following finalisation of the project’s technical assessment by the Department of Trade and Industry. 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.”

Speaking later at the annual general meeting of Harris Development Ltd in Tarbert, Isle of Harris, Wilson said it was “essential” that communities should see direct, tangible benefits from renewable energy developments in return for accepting and promoting them.

The government’s support for the Wavegen project contributes towards its drive to increase renewable energy production. It has set an ambitious target of securing 10 per cent of electricity supplies from renewables by 2010. The funding will come from the £100m allocated last year by the Prime Minister for renewable energy development.

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 has 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.