Backers of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom may be calling for the country's fair share of profits from North Sea gas and oil revenues, but others are banking on its alternative energy future.
Already home to Europe's biggest onshore wind farm—the 322-megawatt Whitelee facility—the wind-swept, surf-pounded nation is hoping to use its water-drenched geography to ramp up renewable energy production.
After nearly a year of fine-tuning, Norwegian tidal energy giant Hammerfest Strom, which is partially owned by ScottishPower Renewables, has entered into a deal worth about $3.1 million with Burntisland Fabrications to build a 1-megawatt tidal turbine, a device which harnesses energy from the ebb and flow of the tide.
The company hopes to have 10 such turbines deployed in the tidal waters in the Sound of Islay, which rise up to 10 feet per second, by 2013. If successful, the endeavor would make the island of Islay (known for its scotch whiskey distilleries) the world's first island to be completely powered by renewables.
The company also aims to install 95 turbines in the Ness of Duncansby (Duncan's Bay) by 2017, a plan that would move Scotland closer to its goal of having tidal power account for one-third of the country's green energy and allow it to generate excess electricity to sell to the European market.
Scotland estimates it has one-fourth of the Europe continent's offshore tidal and wind resources and 10% of its wave energy potential.
Learn more about Tidal and Wave Energy on eBoom's Emerging Energy Learning Page.
Image credit: Effervescing Elephant via Flickr
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