|Scotland to build world's first major tidal power station
The government of Scotland has given the go-ahead to Scottish Power Renewables to build the world's first major tidal power station. The planned installation will be large enough to provide power for 10,000 homes.
After a search across the UK's coast for the best location, the Sound of Islay has been chosen for the project, costing £40m. Ten underwater turbines of 1MW each will be installed in deep water between the two Hebridean islands Islay and Jura. The passage between the two islands has many benefits: one of the strongest tidal flows in the UK at 11km p/hr, shelter from storms and waves and the settled populations on the islands make available a ready electricity grid. A proportion will be paid from profits into the Islay Energy Trust for the local community to reinvest in renewable energy projects like solar energy.
The turbines themselves are manufactured by Hammerfest Strom, a company part-owned by Iberdrola, one of the leading Spanish energy companies and the parent company of Scottish Power Renewables. Scottish Power Renewables hope to be generating electricity by 2015 but also have larger ambitions. As one of the seven winners of a seabed lease by the Crown Estate, Scottish Power Renewables intend to use their experience in the Sound of Islay to guide a huge installation of 95 turbines in Pentland Firth, generating 1,600MW.
Scotland is on target to meet it's goal of 31% of energy from renewables in 2011, having reached 27% in 2009.
Commenting on the Sound of Islay installation, Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney 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.