Scottish Ministers have approved the installation of the world's largest wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis in Scotland.Once completed, the 40MW wave farm will have the capacity to power nearly 30,000 homes.
Wave energy firm Aquamarine will be able to begin installing oyster wave energy machines at the site in the next few years - once the necessary grid infrastructure has been put in place.
Between 40 and 50 oyster devices will ultimately be deployed along the coast at Lag na Greine, near to Fivepenny Borve, which is thought to be one of the best wave energy locations in Europe.
Aquamarine Power is currently testing its second full scale wave machine, known as the Oyster 800, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, and are now producing electrical power to the grid.
Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam said: "Our development could provide significant economic benefit to the local community. In Orkney, for example, we have spent over £5m in the local economy during the installation of the first two Oyster devices and have worked with over 40 local companies as part of our commitment to sourcing much of the services and expertise we require locally."
Scotland has 10% of Europe's wave power potential, and 25% of its offshore wind and tidal power potential.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "This announcement is a fantastic boost for Scotland's marine renewables sector and will put Lewis firmly on the world map when it comes to wave energy." Banks noted however, that if Scotland was to lead the way when it came to marine renewables, then issues surrounding grid connection and transmission costs to the Scottish islands had to be resolved.
"Alongside energy saving measures, wave power and other renewables have a critical role to play in helping Scotland reduce climate emissions, create jobs and generate export opportunities. With careful planning we can harness the waves and tides while safeguarding the nation's tremendous marine environment," he said.
Conor McGlone at Edie Newsroom