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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 10:17 GMT
Sea machine makes waves in Europe
The Pelamis project will harness wave power
A pioneering commercial wave power machine is preparing to leave the Western Isles for Portugal.

A specialist ship will deliver the large, tubular segments from the Camcal factory on the Isle of Lewis to a site off the northern coast of Portugal.

The 6m Pelamis wave energy project will eventually generate 2.25 megawatts - enough for 1,500 households.

Gales and stormy seas had delayed the transport vessel from coming alongside its Arnish deepwater berth on Monday.

Four orange-coloured segments for the first of three giant wave energy machines have been completed and are ready for transportation.

Arnish-based Camcal has been selected by Ocean Power Delivery to provide a total of 12 segments for the project.

Camcal managing director Phil Smith said the scheme was taking an "exciting" step forward.

We have managed to build the first commercial wave generator machine here in Stornoway
Phil Smith
Camcal managing director

He said: "This is a great occasion - not only for us at Camcal but for the island.

"We have managed to build the first commercial wave generator machine here in Stornoway.

"We currently employ about 90 people and that's a large number in the islands but what's very important is that the way we've set this up is that those jobs are sustainable."

Richard Yemm, managing director of Ocean Power Delivery said: "This is a tremendously exciting day, not only for Ocean Power Delivery, but the whole wave industry."

European competition

However, he warned that unless Scotland receives more orders, the industry could move abroad.

"If we don't have a commercial opportunity in terms of installing wave farms in Scottish waters, then the industry will go," he said.

The SNP's energy spokesman Richard Lochhead accused the Scottish Executive of missing an opportunity to be the first to install the scheme

"If the slow-coaches in the Labour and Lib Dem administration had got their act together, the world's first commercial wave energy project could have been installed in our own waters rather than Portugal's," he said.

Western Isles Labour MSP Alasdair Morrison said the fear was that Portugal would start building its own projects.

"We have to do our utmost to ensure that young, aggressive companies remain competitive and are able to compete with anyone within the European Union," he said.

Weather delay

Gales forced the transport vessel MV Sea Power to shelter in Broadbay on Monday.

The 3,330-tonne Danish freighter has legs which it lowers to the seabed to give it extra stability while loading and unloading.

It will return to load two other wave machines from the Arnish yard, which employs 80 people.

The facility was reopened last summer after Western Isles Enterprise invested more than 10m in the site, including the yard which is sub-leased to Camcal.

The world's first grid-connected wave power station, the Limpet, is located on Islay off the west coast of Scotland.

See how the Pelamis wave machine will operate

Three firms chosen for Wave Hub
02 Feb 06 |  Cornwall
Sea energy 'could help power UK'
24 Jan 06 |  Science/Nature
Buyout saves wave power company
24 May 05 |  Scotland
Wave energy contract goes abroad
19 May 05 |  Scotland
Wave energy test centre launched
10 Aug 04 |  Scotland
Wave machine ready for sea trials
23 Feb 04 |  Scotland

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