Islay Energy Trust – Sea Bed Survey in Sound Of Islay

Early April this year the Islay Energy Trust announced plans for Tidal Energy in the Sound of Islay. To determine the environmental impact on the wildlife the University of Aberdeen performed a survey in the Sound of Islay. The following article regarding this survey was published by the Islay Energy Trust in the Ileach of Saturday 5 July 2008:

The Islay Energy Trust’s Tidal Energy Project passed a significant milestone last week as the practical work of surveying the Sound of Islay sea bed was completed. Working from Roger Eaton’s boat 'Angie', the Project Technical Adviser, Dr Alan Owen, and a colleague from The Robert Gordon University used a remote observation vehicle ('ROV') to obtain extensive video footage of different areas of the sea bed in the Sound. (An ROV consists of a camera, lights, electrically-powered thrusters and a protective cage, and with remote control from the boat, it photographs the sea bed.) The aim of the survey was to provide an initial overview of the existing habitats and seabed conditions. It was not, at this stage, a definitive survey for environmental impact assessment or installation purposes. Although detailed analysis has yet to be carried out, first impressions are favourable. Continue reading.....The survey has produced enough data to give a broad overview of conditions, to exclude some areas as unsuitable, and to highlight particular factors such as organic debris entrained within the tidal flow. Preliminary conclusions indicate that there are areas of the Sound 20-30 metres below the surface, which are probably best suited to arrays of 300-500 kW devices, rather than those around 1 MW. At this stage, there do not appear to be any significant environmentally sensitive issues. However, it is thought that the tidal flows in the deepest parts of the Sound – around 60 metres below the surface – are not as great as expected, and it appears that the steep sides of these deep water troughs are unsuitable as locations for tidal devices. When completed, the results of the survey will form a key component of the pre-feasibility study which we expect to complete at the end of September, and will be used to set the criteria for selecting the most suitable tidal turbine device. The report will also contain detail of the work which we will need to carry out for the full environmental impact assessment. Philip Maxwell More information is available on the Islay Energy Trust Website

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