The national media are writing today about the three proposed sites for tidal energy to be built in Scotland and Ireland, according to a press release from Scottish Power. ScottishPower has identified sites off the Antrim Coast, Pentland Firth and the Sound of Islay to test sea turbines which could power thousands of homes. A quote from the press release:
ScottishPower Renewables can today confirmed they are evaluating three separate coastal sites for the development of the worldâ€™s largest tidal stream projects. This historic milestone has been made possible by the successful trial of the worldâ€™s most advanced tidal turbine - LÃ nstrÃ¸m. Two of the sites are being planned in Scotland, in the Pentland Firth and the Sound of Islay, with the third off the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. ScottishPower Renewables expects planning applications to be submitted to the Scottish Government and Northern Irish Assembly in summer 2009. Each site is being evaluated for with a view of installing between 5 and 20 tidal turbines. With each turbine having an installed capacity of IMW, this could lead to a combined output of 60MW â€“ enough green energy for over 40,000 homes. Following planning approval, the projects could be operational by 2011. Continue reading....
Keith Anderson, Director of ScottishPower Renewables, said: 'This is a historic day for the development of marine energy. The rapid technological advancement of tidal power has enabled us to progress plans for this substantial project which has the real potential to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits.' First Minister Alex Salmond said: 'Scotland has massive potential to meet our energy needs several times over from a wide range of renewables, from wind through biomass, hydro power and the massive potential of the sea. This, added to our advantages in clean coal, gas and carbon capture makes for an exciting energy future for Scotland.'
Whether there will be turbines on one of the proposed sites or on all three isn't exactly clear to me, the reporting on the various websites differs considerably. According to an article at the BBC these underwater turbines wouldn't disturb the wildlife but an investigation will be started by the Marine Conservation Society soon. I can also imagine that wildlife can be a threat for the turbines, specially when a big whale swims against one of the blades. The evening times has a video that shows how these underwater turbines are built and how they operate. There are no updates yet on the Islay Energy Trust Website but I'm sure they will be involved in this exciting project for Islay, if and when it happens.