Irishman behind world’s largest wave farm

Scottish government has granted permission to Aquamarine Power

Martin McAdam of Aquamarine Power

Martin McAdam of Aquamarine Power

 


A company headed by an Irishman and using wind energy technology first designed in Queen’s University Belfast has been granted planning permission by the Scottish government for the world’s largest commercial wave farm.

Up to 50 wave turbines are to be installed on the ocean bed by Aquamarine Power off the island of Lewis over the next five years, eventually producing 40 megawatts of power once grid connections are put in place – enough to power 30,000 homes.


‘Significant milestone’
The company’s chief executive, Martin McAdam, who has previously served with the ESB and Eirtricity, described the planning permit as “a significant milestone” in the development of the company.

Aquamarine, which has a number of unnamed Irish investors, mostly people who had formerly held stakes in Airtricity, is currently testing its second-generation wave machine, known as the Oyster 800 at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

The Aquamarine turbines will have “a fantastic contribution” to Scotland’s energy needs once in production, said Niall Stuart, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, though he cautioned that the cost of getting the energy produced onshore must be kept competitive.