The Scottish government has approved an application to operate a 4-MW wave energy project that would harness power from the Atlantic Ocean in Siadar Bay—one of the first marine renewable energy projects to be approved in the UK.

The project’s developers, UK company npower renewables and Scotland-based technology company Wavegen, say the Siadar Wave Energy Project (SWEP) is the largest in the world.

The SWEP project will use a technology called “oscillating water column,” which works as ocean waves move air in and out of chambers in a breakwater. The waves will drive a Wavegen turbine, known as a Wells turbine, to produce power. The project will consist of 40 underwater turbines encased in a massive concrete breakwater offshore.

The SWEP would also be one of the first projects to operate under the Scottish Government’s proposed multiple Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) plan, the revenue support system to promote the development of marine energy generation.

The ROC plan sees government subsidies paid to energy companies for every unit of renewable energy produced. The renewables obligation began in April 2002. The government’s target for 2008/09 was 9.1%, but it plans to raise it to 15.4% in 2015/16 and 30% to 35% by 2020. The UK government will also introduce banding of the renewables obligation this year, with the most established technology, landfill gas, getting 0.25 ROC/MWh, and emerging technologies such as wave and tidal getting 2 ROCS/MWh.

The project’s approval follows the recent launch of the £10 million Saltire Prize to encourage marine energy development. That prize already has 63 registrations of interest from 18 countries across five continents, reported The Press and Journal.

Sources: npower renewables, The Press and Journal