-> 2008 -> Tidal Energy on Islay

Tuesday, 08/Apr/2008

Tidal Energy on Islay

When I researched an entry about Wave Power and Renewable Energy on Islay just over a year ago the focus was still very much on wave power and the station near Portnahaven on the west coast of Islay. But also back then Islay's name started to fall in the context of tidal power generation. In the entry I wrote:

In Catching the power of the sea The Guardian writes about tidal power generation. One potential site for this technology would be the Sound of Islay between Islay and Jura. If you've ever seen the tidal flow you will understand why...

The article is a very interesting read, highlighting the potential for Islay and Jura as well as explaining some of the concerns:

Ask energy expert Professor Ian Fells about suitable tidal streams and he immediately mentions Scotland, where the tide rushes through narrow sounds around Islay and Jura. As a former chairman of the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, his deep enthusiasm for alternatives is encouraging, yet he's quick to see the difficulties.

The topic had disappeared a little from my radar screen so I was positively surprised when I read Ron's entry Islay Pioneer for Tidal Energy Project. In it he highlights the latest project of the Islay Energy Trust (IET), a first for Scotland: Remote island community to lead Scotland's first tidal energy project. I'm not sure if it will be the first in the UK though as the UK gives go-ahead for tidal power generator on the Humber, which seems to have progressed a bit further already.

Not surprising this project creates quite a bit of attention as various blog and press coverage can attest. Some examples:

Let's hope some of the problems encountered with the wave power station (I'm told the grid on Islay can't transport the energy it generates when running at full capacity) can be avoided with this project. I think this is a fascinating project and the way forward, trying new technologies to generate power. As it progresses I'm sure there will be much more coverage to follow.

PS: For a similar project but with windmills not tidal power look no further than neighbouring Gigha, where you can find the Gigha Windmills (apparently also called the Dancing Ladies of Gigha), see also the Gigha Windmills FAQ.

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