Six marine energy developers in the U.K. have been allocated $35 million of government funding to accelerate prototype production of offshore devices used to convert waves or currents to energy by the not-for-profit company Carbon Trust.

U.K. Boosts Funding of Tidal And Wave Power Projects
Photo: Courtesy of Aquamarine Power
A quarter of the world’s wave and tidal technologies are being developed in the U.K.

By reducing marine energy costs closer to wind-power levels, “thousands” of devices could be operational around the U.K. by 2020, say CT officials.

“Getting the first commercial projects in the water is critical to ‘de-risk’ the technology and attract the necessary private sector investment,” says CT’s Chief Executive Tom Delay.

Pelamis Wave Power Ltd., Edinburgh, will receive $7.7 million toward deployment and its second-generation machine. The company supplied its snake-like, first-generation floating devices to Portugal in 2008.

Pelamis aims to test its first P2 machine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney, this year, says Max Carcass, business development director.

Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power Ltd. will use its $8.2 million toward starting trials at EMEC on its 2.5-MW Oyster 2 device next year, aiming for commercial operations by 2013. The first Oyster, a seabed-mounted hinged flap device that pumps water ashore to drive a turbine, began production off the coast of Scotland last year.

Other beneficiaries of the new funding are Atlantis Resources (U.K.) Ltd. London, Norway’s Hammerfest Strom U.K., Marine Current Turbines Ltd., Bristol, and Voith Hydro Wavegen Ltd.

Wave energy represents a $3 billion “economic opportunity for the U.K.,” says CT’s Delay.