The new body charged with developing Scotland's wave energy technology should be based in Lewis and not in Inverness or Edinburgh, according to an island politician.

Wave Energy Scotland (WES) is to receive a total of £14.3 million from the Scottish Government over the next 13 months, it was announced last week.

Now Western Isles Labour Westminster candidate Alasdair Morrison has called for the new body to be located in Lewis so that it does not become "another distant quango living off peripheral resources".

WES was set up in the wake of the collapse of Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power which went into administration in November, as well as Aquamarine shedding staff and Siemens' withdrawal from Marine Current Turbines.

In addition the Herald revealed on Saturday that the £10m Saltire Prize to build Scotland's first commercial wave or tidal energy system was in trouble after industry insiders admitted none of the competitors was capable of winning it. Mr Morrison, a former MSP and Scottish Eexecutive minister, said the prize had "raised entirely false hopes about the wave power sector".

He continued. "There is no good reason for an organisation called Wave Energy Scotland to be located anywhere other than on the island which is recognised as offering the best potential for taking this technology forward. This would also offer a major economic boost to Lewis and compensate it for the past failure to deliver".

Mr Morrison noted that an official of Inverness-based Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) had been appointed to lead WES. He said: "There are not many waves in Inverness and even fewer in Edinburgh. There are supposed to be 12 or 13 new jobs associated with this new organisation and most, if not all, of them could be located on Lewis.

"There is already high quality energy research being pursued at Lews Castle College and by the spin-off company Greenspace."

There could be real benefits for the Arnish fabrication yard, where there are currently fears over jobs due to the fall in oil prices, and other local companies, he said.

A spokeswoman said the Scottish Government was committed to providing the marine energy industry with the supportive policy environment it needs.

She said WES's staff would be located in Inverness, where HIE is headquartered. "To allow maximum investment directly into the wave sector, WES will only have a small core team of staff. With advice from an industry-led advisory group, WES will develop calls for specific work packages and award contracts directly to the successful parties. The first two calls will be launched later this month. "

The first would focus on "power take-off technology" and the second "knowledge capture."

She said "The Saltire Prize Challenge Committee has been keeping the prize criteria and competitor progress under review and is now considering options for reshaping the prize to better reflect the circumstances of the wave and tidal sectors. "