Wave Energy

Ocean waves are generated by the action of winds on the surface of the world’s oceans and both this generation mechanism and the ability of water waves to propagate over large distances make ocean wave energy one of the most concentrated sources of renewable energy available.

Interesting Facts

  • Attempts to develop devices capable of extracting energy from ocean waves have been made since at least the late 18th century.
  • The world’s first wave power plant was opened in 2008 at Portugal’s Agucadoura Wave Farm.
  • It is estimated that up to 21.5GW of wave and tidal energy could be generated from the waters around Scotland annually.
  • Scotland produces about 10% of the total wave energy of Europe thus making it a significant player in the wave energy market and a centre of Research and Development.
  • The Orkney Islands in Scotland are one of the leading areas in wave energy in the world.

Image right, credit: Colin Keldie, courtesy of WES



  • It is estimated that wave energy will generate an annual GVA of £4 Billion and support 8,100 jobs in the UK by 2040
  • Worldwide, wave has a higher power density per square kilometre than either wind or solar energy and it is more predictable than either of them.
  • If Scotland can create the world’s most efficient solution, there is an opportunity to create a new industry that could service the world’s needs in the sector.
  • Wave systems are being developed by drawing on Scotland’s extensive energy expertise and through original research and development activities.


  • The principal challenge is to design and install wave energy extracting systems which are cost effective.
  • Systems need to be highly efficient ocean wave energy absorbers and capable of surviving for sustained periods of time in a highly energetic ocean environment.
  • The systems also need to be resistant to potential environmental effects on the system structure including corrosion and marine growth (where these impact on energy extraction and survivability).
  • Ensure technologies do not damage the marine environment in which they are installed and can be installed, de-installed and maintained cost effectively.

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise