Wave energy pioneer Mocean Energy has secured over £3m in EU funding to develop and deploy a 250kW wave machine in Orkney waters.

The large-scale wave energy device – named Blue Horizon 250 – will be manufactured in Scotland and deployed in a grid-connected berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney as early as 2025.

It is hoped the project could then pave the way for a small wave farm delivering 1MW to 2MW of low-carbon electricity by 2030.

Mocean Energy’s Blue X energy device in operation off Orkney: (Photos: Mocean Energy)

Fears that this and similar projects could disrupt fishing or eat into fishing grounds were dispelled by Hannah Fennell, head of Orkney Fisheries Association and president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

She said there were several small-scale development projects taking place in Orkney waters, and they had not been disruptive to fishing.

“We’ve had quite a lot of different companies test out things in Orkney and around Orkney, so we’re quite used to it and it’s always in the same area – so really it’s not going to affect us at the moment,” she told Fishing News.

“They are quite small-scale, and are just being tested out at the moment.”

A look at the future: this computer-generated image shows how the machines would look in action. Blue Horizon 250 will be ideal for powering small island communities, according to the developer.

Mocean Energy, based in Edinburgh, has been awarded £3.2m in Phase 3 of EuropeWave, a pre-commercial procurement programme, funded through the EU and managed in collaboration with Wave Energy Scotland,
the Basque Energy Agency and Ocean Energy Europe.

Mocean is one of three wave companies to have been awarded funds in Phase 3.

“This is a major milestone for Mocean Energy,” said company co-founder and MD Cameron McNatt. “We have already demonstrated our technology successfully at small scale, and this programme will allow us to build a significantly larger machine based on our proven hinged raft design and incorporate our novel direct-drive generator.

“Looking further ahead, our goal is to deliver a small array in UK waters this decade, and I am confident that with appropriate innovation funding in place, we can realise our ambition to build commercial wave-energy arrays and generate home-grown green energy from our seas, both in the UK and around the world.”

Mocean Energy points out that unlike solar, wind and tidal power, there are no commercially successful wave power devices today – but it says that a viable and cost-effective wave energy device is ‘on the horizon’.

“The ocean remains a tremendous, untapped resource for green energy. Harnessing just 1% of our global wave power resource would power more than 50m homes and save more than 50m tonnes of CO2 annually,” said the company.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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