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£10m prize for Scottish wave power projects

A £10m prize has been launched for the first scientists able to demonstre a commercially viable wave or tidal energy system in Scottish waters.

The Saltire Prize Challenge was launched in Edinburgh this week and the winning project must be able to achieve a minimum electrical output of 100Gwh over a continuous two-year period using only the power of the sea. Cost, environmental sustainability and safety will also be taken into account.

Dr Anne Glover, Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser and chair of the Challenge Committee, said:

“The Saltire Prize challenge aims to accelerate the rate at which wave and tidal technologies can deliver power output that will represent real commercial opportunity. And make a meaningful contribution to Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy and carbon emissions targets.”

First Minister Alex Salmond rather grandly described the Pentland Firth as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable marine energy”. Without the sun. Or pots of money, but let’s not be picky.

The government claims Scotland’s renewable energy potential could see it provide 25 per cent of Europe’s wind power, 25 per cent of its tidal power and 10 per cent of the continent’s wave power.

More from the Scottish government website here.


  • Gareth Hatch
    Posted January 4, 2009 at 2:22 am

    100 Gwh of energy over two years is equivalent to approximately 5.7 MW of power generation – about the production level of a single large wind turbine or two. The new SeaGen Tidal System is designed to produce around 1.2 MW of power and has already successfully done so in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. Put five of them together and you’ve surpassed the goal of the Saltire Prize Challenge…

  • Richard Stubbs
    Posted December 29, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    The method of generating power by waves, must be the most unobtrusive, eco friendly and unlimited in potential of them all. With sincere respect to Scotland, who already have an impressive record in the generation of hydro electric power,a project of this importance needs a much more scope than a one country or one solution answer. I agree with the previous comments that a multitude of ideas, all competing with each other, will lead us to a really good way forward. Lets have a go along these lines. I migh even be tempted to have a go myself! Richard Stubbs 28-12-08

  • Nicole
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I don’t believe this overly ambitious (to put it mildly) concept was well thought out – from the standpoint of would-be competitors. Clearly it would require an investment of many multiples the award amount and many, many years of effort (at least 10) to come even close to the 100GwH of energy to be generated in the first attempt. This, pretty much, unattainable goal will either guarantee that Scotland will never have to make good on payment or, at the very least, will exclude ALL individual, small and medium size entities from participating, since any viable (single) device will cost at least $1M to develop and will probably not be successful. Since many of such devices would have to be built (and paid for) and work ‘perfectly’ for a continuous period of two years, I don;t think that there are many investors that would take such a ‘hugely risky’ bet, for a payoff that would be a small fraction of the original investment. Wouldn’t it be better to have a competition that would encourage ALL innovative people and companies to participate and make this an annual competition that would ward smaller prizes over many years, until there is a clearly preferred method found? Then there could be 1-3 ‘grand prizes’ awarded after maybe a decade of investigation. The 100GhW ‘bar’ needs to be lowered to something like 1GhW/year, estimated over a 1-week long competition period. I would like to see dozens of technologies competing at the same time, with financing being a minor consideration. Only then would this competition truly be seeking what ‘it states’ would be the best technological approach from ANYWHERE in the world, instead of ‘something’ that only a huge corporation could possibly underwrite.

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