The Pentland Firth Having Enormous Tidal Energy Potential
According to latest news on BBC News, Pentland Firth, separates the Orkney Islands from Caithness in the north of Scotland. Latest research has revealed that tides between the mainland and Orkney have the capacity to generate 1.9GW of electricity. This will provide the much needed boost to the ambitious plans of Scottish Government, to fulfill all of the country’s energy needs, by renewable energy.
#1 Giga watts
Ongoing research has identified exact locations where tides have the potential enough to meet the household needs of more than a million people. The figure has changed from 1 to 1.9 Gw in just six months of study. The aim of the government is to meet the target half way by 2015.
Professor Alistair Borthwick, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering has stated that the project was based on careful analysis of turbines and tides. This approach is more relevant in present day, than the one based on tidal stream power assessment. The current in this Firth is supposed to be fasted in the world, with speeds going upto 18mph. To tap this potential, turbines need to be positioned across the entire width. Sites which ensure minimum impact on sea life and trade, have been identified by the UK Crown Estate.
#3 Go green
WWf Scotland, has welcomed this initiative, as it will in turn meet the world 2020 climate targets. The sooner these efforts bear fruit, the faster they will make Scotland a world leader in turning tidal power into clean and green electricity. The dependence on fossil fuels will reduce and give a better greener solution to energy needs.
#4 Oxford and Edinburgh
Researchers from these two age old prestigious institutions have accurately pinpointed the locations and toned down to the output figure from a 4.2GW to a realistic 1.9GW. Since the turbines are also not a hundred percent efficient. This translates into 16000GW hours per year. The tidal turbine energy project has been approved byt eh government and will be undertaken by Atlantis Resources.
Scotland has already set an example by using alternative energy to meet two fifths of its electricity demands. It produces 29.8% electricity by renewable sources and 34.4 percent by nuclear power. It is producing enough power to be able to export 26 percent of it.
#6 Future Plans
Underwater kites are also being researched and testes off the coast of Northern Ireland. Their effectiveness in capturing energy from low velocity currents is being studied. The Saltire Prize has been sponsored by the Scottish Government, to be awarded in 2017 to the company that is most successful in harnessing a minimum 100GWH over a period of two years.
- Turbines do not pose a danger to marine wild life. Less than ocean acidifications
- Power generation and storage can be managed conveniently as tides stop four times a day
- Tidal power is the most expensive way to generate electricity. But the expense is to service the debt, so that this infrastructure can be paid from taxes.
- Once the debt is paid off the electricity will be practically free
- Efforts should be made to ensure that wave and tidal generators do not end up on the sea floor to rot
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