Ten sites off the coast of northern Scotland have been leased out by The Crown Estate – property owned and managed by the United Kingdom – for the development of new wave and tidal energy installations. It is hoped that once completed, the installations will be able to power 750,000 homes in Scotland.
The waters around the area are described as the “Saudi Arabia of marine power”, owing to the fact that they possess up to one quarter of Europe’s tide and wind resources and one tenth of the continent’s wave capacity.
Wave energy occurs when wind blows over the surface of the sea, moving the water and creating waves. The greatest amount of energy is found in deeper, more exposed waters, making those off the coast of North Scotland ideal.
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has called the plans – which are a world first – a ‘major milestone in the global journey towards a low carbon future, with the commercial-scale deployment of marine renewables set to power our economies and help safeguard the planet for generations to come”.
Mr Salmond went on to say that these developments demonstrate Scotland’s commitment to renewable energy sources which do not harm the environment. According to the wildlife charity WWF Scotland, this can be achieved with careful planning.
Seven companies have won the right to develop projects which harness the power of the waves off Scotland including E.ON – the home and business electricity supplier – Pelamis Wave Power, SSE Renewables Developments and Scottish Power Renewables.
The Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: “This is a welcome world-first for Scotland and I am happy to see the major steps being taken to harness Scotland’s wave and tidal energy. It is an extremely exciting time for renewables in Scotland and across the rest of the UK as we use more of our natural resources to generate our power”.
Guest Author Bio: Lucille Groutadge is a freelance writer with a particular interest in green energy and business electricity supplier