Saturday, 15 August 2009


I was very pleased to read that a so-called "wave farm" has been proposed for installation off Great Bernera, west of Lewis. A wave farm (terrible description) consists of several units of Pelamis, which convert the energy of wave action into electricity. How this works in practice, off Portugal, can be read here.

A tidal generator is to be built off Shader (Barvas), and should this new installation become reality, it would place the Western Isles at the forefront of renewable energy usage. Pelamis was designed in Scotland, trialed off Orkney and initially produced in the Arnish Fabrication Yard. I sincerely hope that any orders for Pelamis will be placed at Arnish, bearing in mind it is only some 30 miles from Great Bernera (by road). Whilst the Fabrication Yard has proven to be temperamental in terms of its viability, I support any projects that would put some sustainability in that plant's future. Should the Great Bernera project prove a success (and I think it will be), other wavepower projects may ensue elsewhere in Scotland or indeed the UK. From there on, the sea is the limit.


  1. We concur with all the above...from very wet Lewis,FM and clan

  2. Whilst welcoming the prospect of the generation of clean electrical power from the limitless resources of the Atlantic swell, I sincerely hope that the interests of visiting liesure vessels to East & West Loch Roag will be borne in mind. The waters around Great & Little Bernera are pretty complex and dotted with small islands (visible) and reefs & rocks (invisible). I recently transited Campay Kyle - it is a passage that requires either intimate local knowledge or careful preparation beforehand.
    Furthermore. Loch Roag is a haven of refuge for vessels running in from the west - e.g. from St Kilda. They would not want to have to make special provision to avoid a Pelamis complex.

  3. Brilliant PP. Here was me wondering when the first bemoaners on the scheme would come out and here we are!

  4. Come on Croft, that was no moan - indeed I very much welcome the prospect. They were testing a Pelamis off the west coast of Mainland Orkney last time I was there. It was well marked and, more or less, clear of the main routes.

    But I am surprised that Great Bernera should be selected. Only Little Bernera faces the swell and that is largely obstructed by the surrounding islands and reefs.

    Surely, the only places where clean, regular and unobstructed swell will be found is off Gallan Head, north of Old Hill, or on the coast north of Carloway.

    So where is the proposed location? When we know, perhaps we will be in a position to decide whether or not to moan!