On the island of Islay, the first steps towards realising the goal of tidal energy generating up to one third of Scotland’s renewable energy sources are underway. Scotland’s first large-scale tidal energy project is in the very early stages, but the necessary backing provides hope of success.
Community-owned Islay Energy Trust, in collaboration with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen are ready to go ahead with the commercial-sized Islay Tidal Energy Project. Islay will be the site of 4 to 6 turbines which will be capable of producing up to 2 MW.
Development of the turbines is expected to take around 3 years and will come at a cost of up to £750,000.
‘Tidal streams offer a substantial and predictable source of renewable energy and this is an area where RGU has specific expertise,’ said Dr Alan Owen, of Robert Gordon University’s School of Engineering.
All going well the pre-feasibility study, which will evaluate potential tidal resources, locate possible sites for the underwater turbines and prepare for the environmental impact assessment, will be completed by the end of the summer.
Islay is already home to Wavegen’s Limpet wave power station, tapping the energy generated by movement of the waves around the island. Now the second type of marine energy, that of the tides could be added to the renewable energy list.
There are still many hurdles to be overcome before any sort of tidal energy facility in the waters around Scotland becomes reality so at the moment it’s a case of watch this space.
Scotland is moving forward at a great rate when it comes to taking up different forms of renewable energy options. The latest is a biomass power plant at Grangemouth to add yet another source of energy.