Aquaculture will play a key role in the development of future wave energy technology in a new collaboration between the public and private sector.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES), a subsidiary of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), has announced a £720,000 partnership, which will demonstrate wave energy converters as a means of powering offshore aquaculture installations and potentially, remote island communities.
Wave energy technology developer, Albatern, is behind the commercial demonstration and has teamed up with one of the world’s largest seafood companies, Marine Harvest, which is hosting the project next to their Maclean’s Nose fish farm site south of Ardnamurchan.
Tim Hurst, WES Managing Director, explained, “This project brings together Scotland’s largest fish farming company and an established wave energy technology developer with industry-ready devices. The results of this demonstration will help inform future public and private sector investment in wave energy technology, and could also potentially revolutionise the way fish farms and remote island and coastal communities are powered in the future, dramatically reducing their carbon footprints. This collaboration will help us to understand the market opportunities for small scale wave technology at aquaculture sites and in other off-grid situations.
Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said, “I am delighted that Wave Energy Scotland (WES) is funding this exciting project, which could be a huge step change leading to fish farms and remote island communities being powered by clean, sustainable wave energy. It provides an excellent opportunity to see first-hand wave energy working in a commercial environment.”
David Campbell, Commercial Director of Albatern added, “We are very pleased to play a key part in demonstrating wave energy working commercially on an operating fish farm. It also gives us the opportunity to show how our WaveNET array system can be applied to other offshore and coastal projects around the globe."
Marine Harvest Scotland’s spokesman, Steve Bracken agreed, “At Marine Harvest (Scotland) our aquaculture sites along Scotland’s coastline all need energy usually in the form of diesel. If this new technology is effective in Scotland, it has the potential to contribute positively and sustainably to our operations worldwide."
Heather Jones, Chief Executive of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, commented, “There is a good opportunity to develop the innovative technologies required for offshore fish farming, and SAIC will support the Scottish aquaculture supply chain to do that. Wave energy is an important part of the offshore picture, and we welcome this collaboration between WES and Albatern with Marine Harvest (Scotland). This could be a global springboard for exporting Scottish expertise as well as contributing to the aquaculture industry which is of great significance to the Scottish economy, particularly in remote areas.”