La Société, April 24, 2008
RWE Innogy has submitted a planning application to the relevant authorities for one of the world’s first wave power stations off the Scottish coast. The pilot plant with an output of four megawatts will be installed in Siadar Bay on the Isle of Lewis. If everything goes to plan, construction work could begin in 2009.
“We have taken an important step forward in our plans to build one of the world’s first commercial-scale wave power stations. We are convinced that this technology has a great potential to generate power around Europe’s coast”, explains Kevin McCullough, COO of RWE Innogy. The project is being coordinated by the British RWE Innogy subsidiary npower renewables, who are promoting the development of the wave power station together with the Scottish technology company Wavegen.
Unlike a tidal power station, this does not exploit the difference in height between ebb tide and flood tide but rather the constant kinetic energy of waves. The plan is to build a breakwater system according to the OWC (oscillating water column) principle on the open sea. The breaking waves force water into an opening below water level, which is then sucked out again when the waves retreat. This constant rise and fall sets a column of water trapped in several chambers in motion. The air mass above water is thus alternately compressed and sucked in, powering a turbine that generates electricity. The pilot plant’s output will be enough to supply around 1,500 homes with electricity.
RWE Innogy had already announced a cooperation with the British firm of Marine Current Turbines to plan and build one of the world’s first tidal stream power stations off the coast of Anglesey in North Wales in February. This project will use the natural ocean and tidal currents to generate power through underwater rotors. The system will have an output of around 10.5 megawatts and is scheduled to go into operation in 2012.
RWE Innogy, the company for renewable energies in the RWE Group, is planning to invest an average of one billion euros each year to extend its regenerative power generation business. The main focus will be on wind, water and biomass projects throughout Europe. RWE Innogy will expand its installed power station output based on renewable energies to 4,500 megawatts by the year 2012.