Annex IV distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from researchers around the world who are exploring the environmental effects of marine renewable energy. This page provides a description and contact information related to the research. Content is updated on an annual basis.

Hebridean Marine Energy Futures (HMEF)

Research Study Annex IV

Title: Hebridean Marine Energy Futures (HMEF)
Start Date:
March 01, 2011
Research End Date:
March 01, 2014
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
July 27, 2018
Study Status: 
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: Arne Vögler (Project manager)

Address: Lews Castle College UHI, Stornoway, HS2 0XR, Isle of Lewis

Phone: +44 (0) 1851770325


Project Description: 

The wave power resource to the west of the Outer Hebrides is widely recognised as one of the best in Europe. However, developers lack detailed, accurate data and analysis of the true commercial potential of this resource. It is the goal of the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures research project to analyse and share high quality, detailed information with developers to enable them to identify potential marine energy sites appropriate for large scale developments.

Funding Source: 

Scottish Funding Council, Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power, Voith Hydro Wavegen, Heriot Watt University, ScottishPower Renewables, E-ON, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Location of Research: 

Scottish Hebrides, Orkney Islands and beyond

Project Aims: 
  1. To create a wave energy resource model for the Outer Hebrides;
  2. To carry out investigations of wave resource, topography and ecological sensitivities at 3 selected sites;
  3. To explore power quality and grid capacity to establish the impact of marine energy on the existing grid and how much wave generation can be accommodated;
  4. To monitor interactions between wave energy converters and the environment, focussing on two Pelamis P2 devices, to generate environmental data for strategy development; and
  5. To coordinate knowledge and research exchange that will assist in the development of large scale wave energy farms in the Hebridean Marine Area.
Project Progress: 

Project complete.

Key Findings: 

WP1: The produced model yields area maps of wave parameters, including significant wave height, directional peaks, means and spreads, mean wave period, and power flux. Time varying directional spectra were also generated for all the sensor locations.


The model will produce area maps of various wave parameters, and directional spectra at the locations of the wave sensors. Validation data and error estimations will be available following the end of the model run. Software tools for generating and post-processing simulations for multiple parameters and times have also been produced.


WP2: The data acquisition activities have returned wave datasets in displacement time series format, and also fully spectrally resolved, of durations and wave situations sufficient to support detailed and credible numerical wave resource modelling studies. The wave buoy data has already been used as boundary condition in DHI Mike21 SW models, with model calibration carried out against the nearshore ADCPs.


The wave buoy data has also been used by Open Ocean to calibrate an Outer Hebrides boundary model, with model outputs driving another DHI Mike21 SW model under the HebMEF WP1. This latter model covers the entire west coast of the Outer Hebrides island chain and has been calibrated and validated against both buoy and ADCP data for white-capping at the buoy locations and additional calibration parameters such as bottom friction and wave breaking applied against the nearshore measured data with results showing high similarity.


WP4:Differences were observed in Kernel Density Estimation area and distance from the mooring points, however it is currently impossible to say if these differences are due to the presence of a device or to other patterns of habitat use.


A combination of seasonality in device deployments, and varying detection rates in differing sea conditions and distances from shore could lead to spurious relationships between device presence and bird abundance and could explain the significance of device presence in the Generalised Additive Mixed Models Analysis. These issues cannot be meaningfully resolved until device deployments increase in length and cover periods in all seasons, including winter when there are fewer birds near the coast. It is also possible that there is a genuine effect correctly selected for by the model.


There are many possible ways in which changes in the marine environment could impact red-throated diver populations (mortality of different age classes due to collision or entanglement, non-fatal impacts such as disturbance or displacement, changes in prey distribution or availability) and the magnitude of these impacts on populations is not always clear. A direct mortality event may be less likely than a possible change in the prey distribution or repeated disturbance events, however if the risk of this is prolonged there could be a large impact on the population growth rate.

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