Tidal and wave power developers enter Grand Challenge for ocean energy
Two tidal energy and two wave power developers have entered the race for Scotland's £10 million Saltire Prize - as the competition's Grand Challenge phase begins.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed senior representatives of the four teams to a Grand Challenge launch event in Orkney, where MeyGen was unveiled as the fourth Saltire Prize competitor, joining Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and ScottishPower Renewables.
Three projects will compete in the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters - MeyGen's tidal energy project in the Inner Sound, Pelamis's wave power device at Farr Point and ScottishPower Renewables at Ness of Duncansby with the HS1000 tidal turbine developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest. Aquamarine's Saltire Prize project will see its Oyster wave energy converter deployed off the Isle of Lewis.
The Deputy First Minister said: "Scotland's clean energy challenge to the world has helped draw international attention to the planet-saving potential of wave and tidal power.
"With the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney hosting an array of devices, we should not lose sight of how far this vibrant young industry has come in recent years.
"Lease agreements, including up to 1.6 GW of installed marine energy generating capacity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, are now in place, major power and engineering conglomerates are investing in various wave and tidal energy technologies and no fewer than 11 devices have been deployed or are in the process of deployment at EMEC, with 14 due there by 2014.
"The Saltire Prize sets a considerable challenge to competitors - reflecting the huge potential of harnessing marine energy.
"The four competitors have stepped up to the challenge, and in so doing can drive each other still further and faster forward, towards the goal of large-scale commercial electricity generation from the power of the world's seas and oceans."
Ms Sturgeon also announced a Saltire Prize-sponsored doctorate to study how marine energy projects can be designed to maximise economic energy production while protecting the environment.
And she launched a junior Saltire Prize photography competition - 'The Power of the Sea' - with renowned Scots photographer David Eustace among the judges (See separate news release at www.scotland.gov.uk/News).
The largest renewables innovation award of its kind, the Saltire Prize will be won by the team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters over the minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.
Terry Garcia, executive vice-president of National Geographic Society and Saltire Prize Challenge Committee chair, commented: "It's great to see how far marine energy technology has progressed since the Saltire Prize was first announced by the First Minister.
"The competition has helped promote this emerging industry around the world and I've no doubt that the international interest in wave and tidal energy will only intensify as the Saltire Prize competitors strive to be first to succeed in meeting the Grand Challenge."
For further information on the £10 million Saltire Prize Challenge visit www.saltireprize.com