Council Has Abandoned Plans For Wave Power Generation

The Council has admitted that plans to generate wave power off Scilly have not come to fruition.

In 2009, the Council announced that it was in discussions with various wave power generating companies to install test units off Scilly with the aim of producing cheap, renewable power and reducing our reliance on imported energy from the mainland.

At the time, this was likened to the Shetland Islands, which have benefitted from revenues from the oil industry in the North Sea.

However, Diana Mompoloki, the Council’s Strategic Investment Manager, says it has proved difficult to move forward with the plans, mainly due to slow development of the technology, but also the disappearance of venture capital to fund projects following the downturn in the economy.

She added that Crown Estates, who own the seabed around Scilly, has not yet offered leases to interested companies.

Diana said the plans were always reliant on finding a willing partner to provide the technology and equipment and that has not happened, although the Council had early discussions with two companies, Orecon and Ocean Power Technologies.

She says the Council is still a willing partner in the Southwest Marine Energy Park, a plan announced earlier this year to create a cluster of UK marine energy firms, modelled on California’s famous Silicon Valley.

However, the £42m wave hub, a grid facility for connecting wave power generating devices and which was installed on the seabed 16km off North Cornwall last summer, has still to receive it’s first connected project.

While the Council has abandoned any larger projects, Diana says there are “very small scale plans” for specific wave power projects off St Agnes, subject to the necessary consent being put in place.

The UK coast, and particularly the southwest, has some of the best conditions for generating wave power in the world. However, the immaturity of the technology and the lack of financing has lead many investors to move into off-shore wind farms instead.