Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scotland sets sail for a sea-powered future

Marine current turbine
The world's largest marine current turbine 'farm' is to be installed off the West Coast of Scotland, the Scottish government has announced.

The news comes on the same day that a survey of Scottish business leaders by the Carbon Trust shows they unanimously (94%) believe that green growth is an opportunity for their businesses.

ScottishPower Renewables' £40 million 10MW tidal array development will harness the power of the Sound of Islay and generate enough electricity for over 5,000 homes - over double those on Islay. Amongst other things, the electricity produced will power eight whisky distilleries!

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney, who determined the application, said, "With around a quarter of Europe's potential tidal energy resource and a tenth of the wave capacity, Scotland's seas have unrivalled potential to generate green energy, create new, low carbon jobs, and bring billions of pounds of investment to Scotland.

"This development - the largest tidal array in the world - does just that and will be a milestone in the global development of tidal energy."

He said that ScottishPower Renewables will work with the Islay Energy Trust to maximise social and economic opportunities, for instance using local marine contractors during installation or creating new local jobs in the onshore construction phase.

Marine consultation

The Scottish government is also conducting a consultation on its National Marine Plan is a major component of the Marine (Scotland) Act.

The document contains a Marine Atlas for Scotland which shows locations of different opportunities around the Scottish coast support the Plan.

Publishing the consultation draft Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said: "The significance of the Marine Plan is immense. It will cover reserved as well as devolved issues and contain targets for the next five, 10 and 40 years in key areas such as renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, conservation, recreation and tourism, ports and harbours and shipping."

Marine current turbines

Marine current turbines yield predictable supplies of renewable electricity, unlike solar or wind power. They depend on marine currents which are particularly strong in certain areas around the UK coast.

Unlike tidal barrages or lagoons, they are also modular - you can install one, two, or 100 at a time - and therefore cheaper to install than a barrage, and are less environmentally damaging to wildlife.

UK tidal energy company, Marine Current Turbines, has already installed one 1.2MW SeaGen in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough in April 2008. In 2013 it hopes to install a second Scottish tidal farm in Kyle Rhea, a strait of water between the Isle of Skye and the mainland.

Scottish businesses prepare for low carbon economy

The Carbon Trust survey revealed that 77% of Scottish business leaders expect a bigger percentage of jobs to be in the green economy in 5 years’ time, with it helping to grow the UK’s export market.

There is general agreement that new technology is going to drive green growth (75%) and about a third (36%) of businesses are already investing in the research and development of green products and services.

But of those surveyed, the highest proportion - 22% - believe that Germany is the best prepared nation to benefit from green growth, with the UK coming second with 19% citing the UK.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whisky, not whiskey, when it's scotch...