The dream of harnessing the power of the waves inches forward in Orkney, with technology champions Aquamarine reporting improved times for replacing the many moving parts of their Oyster 800 that have been causing them problems.

The trouble has been caused by the fact that equipment parts developed for the oil sector, designed for harsh but stable sea conditions, struggle in the frothy near-shore waters of the Pentland Firth and have repeatedly broken down while the device has been bobbing around for three years.

But as repair operations that used to take weeks now take just days, Aquamarine is hopeful that 2014 will be the year the Oyster starts to produce uninterrupted power, and the firm's wider plans to produce a 50-device, 40 megawatt wave farm off Lewis can become a reality.

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However, to make that happen, European Union funding and grid connectivity will have to fall into place as well. No-one said this was going to be easy, but Aquamarine has industrial supplies of optimism, and is determined to prove the technology works.